Jordan Hill underwent what was deemed season-ending surgery in January, but if the Lakers advance deep enough in the playoffs, Hill might return this year. Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
Hill will begin running with 70 percent of his body weight, according to the team. He will gradually increase the weight on the treadmill, barring any setbacks, and be cleared for full weight-bearing running and jumping exercises once he reaches 100 percent.
The team estimates it would take another 3-4 weeks of on-court basketball drills before Hill will be able to resume playing in games.
Hill, who averaged 6.7 points and 5.7 rebounds in 15.8 minutes per game, was having his best season when he injured his hip. He’s especially valuable to the Lakers, who lack a quality backup center behind Dwight Howard, as illustrated by the team’s numbers when Howard was on the bench:
- Before Hill’s injury: +4.4 points per 100 possessions
- After Hill’s injury: –4.9 points per 100 possessions
The Lakers will probably need to rely heavily on Howard to advance far enough that Hill can return, but if that somehow happens, they can safely give Howard a little more rest.