Hill has surgery, out for season

Dec. 19, 2001 at 12:35 PM
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ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 19 (UPI) -- For the second time this year, Orlando Magic star Grant Hill has had season-ending ankle surgery to repair a troublesome injury that sidelined him for all but 18 games the past two years.

Hill, who signed with Orlando prior to last season, underwent a one-hour procedure on Wednesday morning to remove bone spurs. Dr. Mark Myerson also reinforced the site of the original stress fracture.

"The surgery was technically successful and accomplished all the planned treatment goals, with the prognosis guarded at this time" Myerson said.

Hill will be in a cast for approximately one month. At the end of that time period, a decision will be made on his rehabilitation.

"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 Nov. 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 Nov. 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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