Ankle has Hill out for season

Dec. 18, 2001 at 6:08 PM
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ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Orlando Magic star Grant Hill will have season-ending ankle surgery Wednesday to repair a troublesome injury that has sidelined him for all but 18 games the last two years.

Hill, who signed with Orlando prior to last season, will have bone spurs removed. Dr. Mark Myerson also will reinforce the site of the original stress fracture.

"We all feel badly, as Grant was a big part of our plans this season," Magic general manager John Gabriel said. "What's most important, however, is to improve the overall health of Grant's ankle joint and allow him to return to form."

One of the NBA's most versatile players, Hill is in the second season of a seven-year, $93 million contract.

The 29-year-old Hill suffered a bone bruise in his left ankle late in the 1999-2000 season, when he was with Detroit. He played through the injury in two postseason games and later was diagnosed with a broken ankle.

Hill underwent surgery following the season, but the bone did not heal properly due to a lack of blood reaching the area. He appeared in just four games last season and was told he may not play again unless he had a second procedure.

In January, Hill had surgery to repair the medial malleous bone. The procedure required the removal of old screws and the insertion of new ones, along with a bone graft.

After five months of rehabilitation, Hill said at the outset of training camp in October that "I've got to prove that I'm healthy, which I've been doing (this summer), and that our team can rely on me."

That was the case for 13 games as Hill averaged 16.8 points, 8.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists. But he sat out November 24 against Charlotte with soreness in the foot.

Hill tried to return two days later against Detroit but sat the last seven minutes with more soreness. A bone scan on November 29 revealed bone spurs on the ankle.

The 1995 NBA co-Rookie of the Year and a six-time All-Star, Hill had averaged 21.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 6.3 assists in 439 games entering this season. He never has won a series in four playoff appearances.

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