That’s Grant Hill’s music!

Grant Hill will return to the Suns' lineup on Friday at Houston just two weeks after knee surgery. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

Grant Hill will return to the Suns' lineup on Friday at Houston just two weeks after knee surgery. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

Against all the odds, Grant Hill will return to the court for the Phoenix Suns Friday night — just two weeks after surgery to repair his torn meniscus. Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic reported news of Hill’s imminent return just a few hours ago.

Hill was a full participant in the team’s practice in Memphis today. He will sit out Wednesday’s game against the Grizzlies before returning Friday against the Rockets in Houston. Hill’s role will be limited against Houston as the team wants to bring him back into the rotation cautiously.

Grant’s quick return is nothing short of miraculous. It was reported when he was initially injured that he might be lost for the season. Hill eschewed those fears and has been pushing hard to recover and return since he left the hospital. He was cleared to sprint and move laterally by the training staff earlier this week, and intimated that he was close to returning to game action while he sat in with the ESPN announcers during the Suns’ game in Minnesota last night.

Hill’s recovery conjures memories of Terrell Owens playing in Super Bowl XXXIX after breaking his leg in Week 15 of the regular season. The only clear difference is that Grant Hill is a universally likeable athlete and Terrell Owens is, well, T.O.

Though the Suns have won five of their last six games, Hill’s return couldn’t come at a better time. Phoenix is a single game out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference with Utah hot on its heels. A win Friday would bring the season series with Houston to 2-2, which would allow Phoenix to win the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Rockets so long as the Suns finish with a better record against Western Conference opponents.

In the grander scheme of things, the Suns are entering their most difficult stretch of the season. All but one of their remaining opponents has a winning record. Having their full complement of players and their best defender in the lineup gives Phoenix the best possible chance to reach the postseason.

Miracles don’t happen every day (except when the Suns’ training staff is involved). Maybe Hill’s return is the unexpected break the Suns need to break through in the West.

Tags: Grant Hill Injuries Phoenix Suns Phoenix Suns Analysis

  • A-ROCK

    as you said “Maybe Hill’s return is the unexpected break the Suns need to break through in the West.

    But not likely…… Grant Hill is not a savior of the Suns…We’ve watched him play all season, he is a role player that plays defense, he isn’t even a quality scorer, Maybe a lay up hear and there on a fast break of course and his jumper is weak and not consistent. Please don’t make it seem as if Grant Hill is the missing piece for the Suns because he isn’t. I don’t even remember the last time he lead the team in scoring in any given night as a starter!! I for sure hope he doesn’t DOES NOT start or even come off the bench as a sixth man, that would make my stomach cringe with throw up and cramp up. The team is fine how it is with the exception of Gentry playing the right players at the right time. We don’t need Hill locking someone down only to have our scoring suffer and the speed on offense decrease and the plays available decrease making the Suns more predictable.

  • grover

    I’d agree Hill is not a “savior” as that implies a team that will perform miracles, not a team that will consider it a success if the are able to go one and out in the playoffs, but otherwise I’d disagree with the assessment of Hill’s importance to the Suns. Hill is the only player on the Suns that plays solid and reliable defense. He doesn’t have the scoring punch he did a couple years ago, but in Feb and Mar he averaged around 11 pts, 4 reb, 3 asst, and 1 steal a game on 50% shooting. He’s a clear leader on and off the court, in some ways more so than Nash (Nash leads the offense, but watch who the players talk to most coming in and out of timeouts). The Suns have played well in his absence, but why? Because their bench got better. The starters are actually playing worse without him, but luckily the bench is making up for it.

    My worry in Hill coming back is whether he has his legs back. He struggled early in the season as he had off season knee surgery and it took him awhile to get back in game shape. Hopefully this time he gets back to form more quickly. I would think Genrty would ease his way back just to make sure, even if the trainers aren’t staring over his shoulder making sure not to push him to fast. If he’s playing as well as when he left, I’m excited to have him back.

  • A-ROCK

    what do you mean the starters are playing worse without HiLL? NO theit just playing the same way and the team has a new identity with shannon brown in and the pieces coming off the bench. There is to much pressure on Hill and Nash to be the guys to make us win but times are changing right before our eyes. Now that they have a clear 2nd unit that released pressure off Nash to shoot more and less turnovers.

  • grover

    My statement is simple. Earlier, most Suns losses the starters played even or better than the opponent, but the second unit would surrender the lead or dig a deep hole. More recently the second unit is playing well and the Suns lose when the starters either dig too deep a hole in the first period or cant score no turn the ball over in the fourth quarter. My hypothesis is that the starters not playing as well is due to Hill’s absence. I don’t see a connection between Hills absence and the subs improving since Hill rarely played with the subs. If there is a link I’d say it’s Brown moving to the starting unit. His penchant for dumb decisions and poor shot selection may be muted on the starting lineup and magnified when paired withe the subs.

  • A-ROCK

    it’s the coach man!!!!! plain and simple. the coach needs to decide when to play the players and he would put grant in with 1st unit and the would suck, now that he put in shannon, that opens the door for the other playmakers on the 2nd unit to shine. Simple.

  • PennyAnd1


    I agree & disagree with you Grover about Hill’s return..I say they should rest him a little longer cause Suns are doing great right now. Maybe when the opposition has such a scoring threat like Bryant, only then would I play Hill only for that defense. Other than that, my main concern is Brown returning to his former shell & would be a let down now that Hill returns.

  • PennyAnd1


    I think the 2nd unit improved because Redd is able to play the main guy for scoring, especially since Brown (who jacks up bad shots) joined the 1st unit. That explains your reason I Still I think Brown has improved playing with Nash, rather than playing with the 2nd unit. That’s why it’s a concern to me that if Hill returns, Brown will go back to his former self, especially if he plays with the bench unit again.

    What I do like that I have been seeing recently though is how in the 4th quarter, Gentry put in Redd & Brown at the same time with Nash. I want to see Gentry put in Gortat, Lopez, Brown, Redd, with Nash during crunch time…I see that line-up being solid in both defense & offense.

  • A-ROCK

    If I have to tell you we don’t need hill in the starting line up 1 more time!! ugh

    your right nash makes brown better but brown also makes nash better which allows nash to shoot more.

    It would be exciting to see gortat and lopez together, maybe in the last game of the season if suns’ don’t make playoffs but not now while the chemistry is perfect.

    Nash needs to be able to get rest, ie 4th quarters, we don’t need him to tire himself unless we need him to and he is not the answer since he won’t shoot when we need him to, he just try’s to find people that are already having a bad game then they lose.

    The way the coach brought in the subs against the Timberwolves is a perfect example of the rotation, don’t deviate. Not counting the last 2 minutes of the game.

    Honestly if the 2nd unit doesn’t play well I really think the 1st unit will not make a come back as we seen against utah. That’s my reasoning in the season being a coaching error, the good thing is the coach is learning, hopefully not at the price of a wonderful finish to the season.

  • PennyAnd1

    Well atleast you admitted that Nash makes Brown better ill give you that. But Brown making Nash better? Nah.. Nash really just needed a scorer, any scorer for that matter, to get pressure off him so that he can shoot more. Brown is basically doing what J-Rich was doing during 2010, spot up jump shooting, slashing, and running off screens. That’s what happens when you play with Nash.

    Nash was not shooting more earlier this season because he was too busy basically practicing in a live game with his players around him of how the system here in Phoenix works, due to so many new faces. Nash makes everyone feel like they have an important role. Gortat is finally adjusting to the pick n roll because of the amount of time Nash had to go trial & error with him.

    Now that everyone is adjusted or got the feeling of how the game works, and with his back getting better, Nash is finally shooting more. Plus during crunch time, everyone pressured Nash, so how could he shoot? that’s where a scorer (Brown) comes in to play.

    Again I say the 2nd unit is playing well because Brown is now playing with the 1st unit, giving Redd the go signal. So now the 1st unit is not as good as it used to be, unless of course Brown shoots the ball well. Let’s see how consistent Brown is. Consistency will tell you if the player is great or not.

    I disagree with you about Dudley being better than Hill in scoring. Hill & Dudley are basically the same. I always thought Dudley is more of a role player. If I had it my way, I say move Dudley in the 2nd unit replacing Childress, and Brown should stay with Nash cause atleast Nash can focus on Brown as the go-to-guy. I think Dudley is a team-player that he wouldn’t mind at all. Hill needs to be in there with the 1st unit to shut down guys like kobe, which is very important come playoff time. Gentry really needs to see that having Hill & Dudley play together brings more role-players less scoring, while playing Brown & Redd together brings scoring but usually ends up in confusion cause both would want the ball, and no role-players mean not enough ball movement.

  • A-ROCK


    I just said brown makes nash better, he is a scorer you duffus! Brown is doing what brown does, not what j rich did you lame. They have different games and I think brown is quicker than j rich.

    Gortat is still going to miss the easy hand off from Nash.

    What you don’t understand is every player has a skill set, you want to say nash’s is as a cheerleader and I am saying he is a great passer and shooter, big deal it is not even a hot topic.

    As far as dudly and hill if you look at the stats dudly player ranking for his position is 13 and hill is 29 moron and that’s on paper, you are dumb because you can obviously see this fact by watching a game idiot.

    as you said dudly is a role player that shoots good so why would you take him out of the line up with Nash and replace him with Hill when hill doesn’t shoot as well and needs the ball just as much as brown to be productive but Hill can’t handle that responibilty because he isn’t built like he use to be?

    And I’m not bashing Hill this is just facts, I actually like the guy but again he is not a super hero and not the hero for the suns team to be having a must be inserted into the line up pedigree. I would take ray allen over him anyday and that guy comes off the bench now.

    Don’t worry about the defense in the playoffs it is there and Hill is not the answer for a mega superstar offensive player he is just a hicc up to them and that could be anyone on the team to play that role, as long as the offense is clicking they can go head to head with any team. And that is real talk. The superstar offensive player has to go to the bench to rest sometimes and our 2nd unit is agressive enough to lock down the other team on defense, make stops as a team, it is just not up to one guy to play defense it is a team game not one on one. And that should be the players philosiphy.

  •!/True_Rys Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    The insults and repetitive jabs back and forth is so 2 seasons ago, guys. Give it a rest already.

    Why bother sharing opinions if you have to resort to angry walls of text?

    Anyway, no. Hill is not the answer. In my opinion, him being out there with the first unit is actually a problem and trickles down to the second unit because of Gentry’s system and the need to have some sort of balance.

    If Hill starts, Brown can’t start so Brown goes to the bench. If Brown is coming off the bench, Redd gets less minutes. If Redd isn’t in the game, the opposing second unit can afford to crowd the paint. If that happens, Telfair can’t work his magic. Also, Chily is banished once again.

    Now, I’m all for Hill coming back as part of the second unit at the 3 and splitting time with J-Chil as long as Redd gets his minutes.

    Nash is the reason the first unit runs. Redd is the reason the second unit runs. Hill is not the reason either unit runs and if placed with the starters again, the major inconsistency will return.

  • steve

    There aren’t many words in the English language I’ll take offense at, and to be honest, what you do with this moving forward isn’t going to negatively affect me in any way, but I feel I need to say it anyway.

    Using the word “retard” as an insult is completely immature, unnecessary, tasteless, crude, and whatever other negative word you want to add to that list. I understand that the internet is full of all kinds of playful banter, and it’s fun to be extremely derrogatory because there are never any real consequences. So, I don’t really care what people call others most of the time. However, it’s beyond the realm of “playful banter” when you begin to insult a group of people who, in some part, cannot defend themselves or do anything to change their position. As a human being, you have to more sense and compassion than to do that.

    Call others pretty much any other insult you can think of, and I won’t really care, but using “retard” as an insult is on a completely different level of stupidity and ignorance.

  • Cam

    I just need to say that the negative an derogatory posts in these last two articles have definitely put a bad taste in my mouth. I have enjoyed reading and posting here over the last two seasons but I find myself heading to other sites to read articles and the bloggers who post on them. Playful banter is one thing, but angry, hateful posts are unnecessary. Go Suns.

    • Michael Schwartz

      @Cam I agree. I wasn’t around yesterday but have moderated a good number of posts from the last two articles with inappropriate content. To all, let me know if I missed any and let’s make sure to stay away from the personal attacks. There’s no problem with disagreeing with somebody’s take, but insulting them for their differing opinions won’t be tolerated here anymore. My apologies for allowing things to get to this point.

  • Mark

    To Michael Schwartz, thanks for keeping the blog clean. I think there are people who insult people when they have a hard time making a point (which most disagree). No need for that here.

    To “that person”, here’s what you wrote and my reply:
    * ” I actually like the guy” (meaning Hill)…. yeah right. You’re either an Orlando fan with a chip on your shoulder or you are Shannon Brown disguised.
    * you say you can’t remember when he was last the scorer of the team. maybe, but in one of his last games (Indiana), I scored 22 (1 less than Gortat).
    * Shannon Brown takes lots of shots (some of them, he shouldn’t be taking), and therefore there are games when he’ll score 20-30 points, but again, he needs too many shots. He’s a J-Rich type of player. can give you 25 points one day, but 8 the next, while taking lots of shots, while playing just average defense
    * the first unit hasn’t been better, it’s the 2nd unit that has saved us (i.e Redd, Telfair)
    * you seem to like anybody but Hill, and if possible having him playing D-league. Again, get over the Orlando departure. He’s a great leader, defender, and still has games when you see vintage young Grant. I’d take him in my team any day before a Shannon Brown

  • Mark

    haha, I guess I wrote I scored 22 (I wish I had played more than b-ball in high school), but meant Hill scored 22. I guess I personally could only score a free throw in an NBA game, but you get the point ;-)

  • A-ROCK

    I’m not going to talk about grant hill he isn’t even better than dudley. Dudley is a good player, now shannon brown is shannon brown and you get what you get you can’t complain.

    At this point in grants career I’d take Shannon brown 365 days a year.

  • grover

    I’m glad we all got the message about not making this personal and resulting to insults when opinions differ. Looks like its having a huge impact.

  • Scott

    I look forward to Hill’s return. He’s been playing well.

    My only concern with him coming back so quickly is that I don’t think he really credits his body’s weaknesses. IIRC, his ankle injury was so devastating because he continued to play on it, originally, and then he kept coming back from surgery and rehab early.

    I’m concerned that the leopard hasn’t changed his spots, and he’s still pressing to come back early.

    Having said that, this injury isn’t as bad, and maybe it’s not possible for him to critically worsen it.

  • Mark

    All right a-rock. I don’t know if you watched the game but I did. Look at the difference. Brown, 18 Pts but 6/17 (35%) but Rudy Gay was killing them 32 Pts, 13/20 (65%) plus the free throws. He just couldn’t be stopped. That’s why some teams win championships while others don’t, it’s called defense!!!
    Now, read this….. Last time they played (suns won btw), Hill (7/14, 50%, 14 Pts), Gay 7/20, 35%, 19 Pts. I watched that game too by the way and Gay struggled. That’s being efficient.
    I know you won’t acknowledge it because you’re a Hill hater and maybe an Orlando fan, but We certainly missed Hill today. He makes a difference even not being the scorer for the Suns.
    Also, I agree with you, I’d take Brown in the long run just because Hill will retire next year and is slowing down (no question). But this season… Hill any day. ;-). Hope you’re enjoying the Orlando saga :-)

  • A-ROCK


    Thanks you did all that for me!?

    Who was guarding Gay tonight… dudley.
    Shannon brown plays shooting guard not small forward, you need to talk to the coach about who he plays.

    Besides it wasn’t about Rudy going off on the suns or dudley playing him anyway, and brown was good enough. It was about the coach not playing the right players in crunch time and making bad substitutions.

    I was watching nash let uncontested shots being made right in his face down the stretch but all you want to talk about is nash’s assists right!? It’s not about hating someone it’s about common sense and this is no hindsight is 20/20 it was said the suns would lose due to coaching, not missing grant hill or dudley covering gay.

  • A-ROCK


    Not to mention the real reason the suns could have won those games is because z-bo didn’t play, you didn’t mention that. lets not give all the credit to hill. That would be foolish. Big deal Gay had an undersized sf on him today, there is no excuse for the lose, and considering z-bo being back and hill was healthy it wouldn’t make a difference because the coaching is the issue and z-bo makes more of a difference than hill.