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