ORLANDO, Fla., March 8 (UPI) -- Grant Hill, the oft-injured veteran guard of the Orlando Magic, who is out again with an ankle injury, says he is through for the season.
The Orlando Sentinel reported Saturday that, within earshot of star forward Tracy McGrady during a practice session Friday morning, Hill threw in the towel for the 2002-03 campaign.
"I feel confident in the direction I'm going," Hill said, "but it's safe to say I'm out for the year and the playoffs."
The paper said he vows to return next season, even if a fourth surgery on his ailing left ankle is required.
"I'm not done," said Hill, who wears a walking boot. "I'm not throwing it in (forever)."
Hill had said recently that he thought another surgery was in the cards. He made the admission to Florida Today on Feb. 19. At that time, he said, "If surgery will be required, it won't be the same procedure or the same length of time that there was before. 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."
His teammates took the news in stride.
"I think it's something that, even though it had not been decided, we had already accepted," forward Pat Garrity told the paper. "He hadn't come out publicly, but we've dealt it."
Hill 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.
He was averaging 14.6 points per game while shooting just under 50 percent from the field before he was placed on the injured list on Jan. 18.
Hill was in the third year of a seven-year, $93 million deal, but missed 26 of 55 games this season, and played just four games in 2000-01 and 14 games last season.