ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 19 (UPI) -- It appears that veteran guard Grant Hill of Orlando is headed for another operation on his troubling left ankle.
A report Wednesday in Florida Today said Hill now is pondering a fourth operation, which could prevent his return if the Magic qualify for the playoffs.
Hill went to IR on Jan. 18 and has missed 14 games. He is again getting around on crutches and a walking boot.
Hill told the paper that a decision will be made in the next week.
"If surgery will be required, it won't be the same procedure or the same length of time that there was before," Hill told the paper. "It's more to just fix the structural issues than the fracture. This is a little simple procedure that may have been the cause to all of these problems. I use the analogy of a car being out of alignment and the tires keep wearing down and you keep changing them. Well, you've got to fix the alignment, not the tires over and over. I don't know if that makes sense, but that's the kind of what we're dealing with. That's a three-week (rehabilitation) procedure instead of a long-term thing."
When healthy, Hill is averaging 14.6 points per game while shooting just under 50 percent from the field.
He missed most of the last two seasons because of surgeries on the ankle, and started the 2002-03 campaign in impressive fashion before soreness returned in the ankle.
Hill, who is in the third year of a seven-year, $93 million deal, has missed 26 of 55 games this season. He played just four games in 2000-01 and 14 games last season.
He said he was amused at the recent rumor that the Magic might trade him to Philadelphia for Keith Van Horn.
"I've experienced it all and I've heard it all so all I can do is concentrate on trying to get healthy and not worry about rumors and trades or whatever," Hill said. "I just need to worry about getting healthy."
Hill said through it all his spirits still are surprisingly high. He said he's at peace with his injury because doctors finally have determined the source of the recurring pain.
"My spirits are real good," he said. "I feel relieved to know, or at least have a good idea, as to why this thing has occurred. I've never really had that before."