Wednesday, March 10, 2004

No surprise: Hill done for year


Magic avoid risk, wait until next season to test comeback

The Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. - The Orlando Magic confirmed Tuesday that oft-injured forward Grant Hill will delay his fourth comeback attempt until next season.

Hill has had four operations on his left ankle, limiting him to 47 games since signing with the Magic in 2000.

"Our goal all along has been to give Grant the best chance to get healthy," general manager John Gabriel said in a statement. "At this time, and in consultation with the medical experts, we are in agreement that the risk of him returning this season to game action could be detrimental in regard to achieving the overall goal."

The five-time All-Star will continue his rehabilitation in the hope of returning when the Magic open training camp for the 2004-05 season in October.

On Monday, Hill's agent told Florida Today that it made little sense for Hill to play a handful of games rather than rest through the offseason.

"That's an additional six months of rehab and healing," Lon Babby told the newspaper. "To us, it's a no-brainer."

Hill sustained a stress fracture while playing for the Detroit Pistons in the 2000 playoffs. His last operation, performed in March 2003, was the most comprehensive - doctors broke a bone in his heel to better align the ankle.

Hill's absence is hurting the Magic on and off the court.

The team has been unable to put together a solid supporting cast for guard Tracy McGrady, who signed at the same time as Hill. And Hill's contract - $93 million for seven years - severely handicaps the team in trying to sign other players.

Career with Magic

YearGGSMINPPG
00-014413313.8
01-02141451216.8
02-03292984314.5
03-04OUTOUTOUTOUT
Total47471,48815.0




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