The Phoenix Suns might as well kiss any glimpse of hope of securing that last playoff spot out West good-bye.
It’s one thing to be sitting two games behind the Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets in the postseason picture, but now the Suns will have to go about their business without their premiere defender available for the next few weeks and maybe the rest of the season.
On Friday morning, Grant Hill will undergo minor right knee surgery after an MRI on Thursday revealed he has a meniscus tear on his right knee.
The pain in Hill’s knee started two weeks ago after taking a hit during a game to the inside of the right knee. Last Sunday the pain worsened in Cleveland when the knee was hit again and Hill had to leave the game. Earlier this week he missed back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday, and by Thursday he learned he had to go under the knife.
It’s Hill’s second knee operation in the last seven months, after the 39-year old small forward underwent arthroscopic surgery last September to remove a loose piece of cartilage on his right knee.
Back then, Hill underwent more than two months of rehabilitation during the lockout, did not run on his knee until three days before the Suns reported to training camp and did not participate until the until third day of training camp.
What does this all mean now knowing Phoenix has 15 regular season games left on their schedule? The chances of Hill being done for the rest of the season is highly likely, yet the team won’t know for certain until after Friday morning’s schedule operation.
Either way, having Hill sidelined for any period of time has proven disastrous this season for Phoenix.
Not only will the Suns be without his defense and season averages of 10.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 29.2 minutes per game, but Phoenix is 1-4 without Hill this season.
Sitting at 25-26 on the season, Phoenix has lost two-straight and face the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday before embarking on an eight-game schedule that has them playing on the road seven times. In that stretch they face five-playoff teams as well as hosting the Los Angeles Lakers. Aside from facing the Portland Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden on April 16, the Suns close out the regular season against Oklahoma City, the Los Angeles Clippers, Denver, Utah and San Antonio.
Is now a good time to mention they have six back-to-back games remaining?
That final 15-game regular season task is a rough stretch even with a healthy Grant Hill available, but you remove him from the picture and the postseason picture for Phoenix becomes down right painful.
By undergoing surgery, at least Hill will find some relief to his pain.
The rest of the Suns won’t be so lucky.