When someone mentions his name, more than likely the first thoughts would be about his numerous ankle and knee injuries which derailed one of the game's most dynamic players.
Now for those who may not have been around when Hill was practically unstoppable when he was with the Detroit Pistons, check out his stats before joining the Orlando Magic in the 2000-2001 season and becoming injury prone.
So who does Hill point the finger at when it comes to those injury-plagued seasons? Directly at the Magic and the Pistons for what he feels was mismanagement of his injuries after undergoing surgery in 2000:
“The next day the doctor who performed (my) surgery picks the paper up and saw that I played like 30 minutes and he was irate,” Hill said [referring to his first game in Orlando on opening night after offseason surgery]. “I wasn’t supposed to be on the court doing basketball-related activity until December. So somewhere along the line, the ball was dropped. And certainly I didn’t know that until the doctor informed me of that. Apparently he had forwarded all the information down there to Orlando. I was told to follow the instructions. I played in another game in Miami the next night and they shut me down to do rehab for five or six weeks. By then it was too late. What should’ve been a six- or seven-month recovery before you get on the court to play, I was on the court in three or four months.”
Since then, Hill has joined the Suns and has become a solid player for Phoenix and still is putting up good numbers. But one has to ponder, if what Hill says it true, shouldn't the Pistons and Magic organizations be held responsible? Furthermore, didn't Hill have a voice in the decision making process on when he can return to the court for the Magic?
NBA players are notorious for bending the truth when it comes to their health after an injury. They are competitors and want to get back in the game. So they rush rehab, deal with the pain, and come back as soon as possible for the sake of the team even at the risk of further injury.
Case in point: Portland Trail Blazers' Brandon Roy.
Last season, Roy suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee right before the playoffs were to begin.
"It's tough. Especially being around my teammates, who are all like 'When are you coming back? You gonna play Wednesday?" It's hard to tell them that I don't know when I'm going to play again as far as this season," Roy said. "It's really difficult."
After receiving minor surgery to repair his knee, soon after Roy was on the court practicing for Portland in the hopes of coming back in the playoffs.
Roy, who had minor surgery on April 16 to repair the torn meniscus in his right knee, shot free throws on Monday and moved around on the knee, reporting to athletic trainer Jay Jensen and general manager Kevin Pritchard that he was encouraged. Roy said there is no swelling or pain.
“He looks terrific, he really does,’’ Pritchard said. “And Brandon feels really good. Does that mean he is going to play? No. It means we are going to leave the option open.’’
Eventually Roy did come back in time for Portland in the playoffs but fast forward to this season, he hasn't looked like the player he once was. And if he hasn't looked the same because he came back too soon last season, who is to blame? Roy? The Blazers?
Even if you think Roy's injury was "minor" in comparison to Hill's numerous injuries, the common thread is here.
Continuing with Hill's case, when he signed with Orlando, he had to live up to the huge contract he received - $93 million to be exact. That's an awful huge contract to live up to and Hill wanted to show Orlando's investment would pay dividends. Let's also not forget, while in Detroit, he played on a gimpy ankle during the postseason in his final season with the Pistons. Furthermore, while transitioning from Detroit to Orlando, still suffering from the ankle injury he was dealing with in Detroit, Hill said the following:
"I was limping. I was in pain," he says. "It got to the point where people were telling me to play through it. I was shocked at how casual they were. I started questioning myself like, 'Maybe this isn't a big deal, maybe it's just scar tissue.'"
He knew he was in pain yet he still played.
Other circumstances surround Hill such as the Orlando team physician dying in a plane crash, leaving Orlando medical staff in flux and then Orlando GM John Gabriel stating the Magic put Hill's health as priority number one.
However, in the end, the player and the organization must accept responsibility for player's health. No one party is to blame entirely. If Hill felt like he was good to go while in Orlando, and voiced his sentiment, then perhaps the Magic took him at his word and allowed him to suit up. On the other hand, due diligence calls for the Magic to consult with team doctors to make sure Hill was at 100% and refuse to play him over any protest he may make.
To listen to the complete Hill interview, click HERE.
Hill should stop complaining. He cashed in big-time in Orlando and barely showed anything for it. Maybe the Magic made a mistake and rushed him back too quickly, but don't bite the hand that fed you $93M.
great writeup. People forget about Hill and particulars of his fall from stadom. Interesting to think about going forward as it pertains to Brandon Roy
@ukraine is weak @frank the bank Thanks for the read and compliment. It was great to focus on this but Hill needs to point the finger at himself as well. If he knew all this was going on, he could have said he was not 100%