Detailing Sixers’ New Addition George Hill’s Injury Situation

LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 24: Oklahoma City Thunder Guard George Hill (3) breaks past Los Angeles Clippers Forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during an NBA game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Oklahoma City Thunder and the on January 24, 2021 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Carrie Giordano/Icon Sportswire)

The Sixers’ new addition George Hill has yet to debut for the team due to a thumb injury. What are the details surrounding this injury?

Daryl Morey chose to bolster the Sixers’ bench at the trade deadline by addressing their need for a backup point guard. The addition of George Hill is expected to tie together the second unit and provide the team with another ball-handler for late-game lineups. The 34-year old has played in 127 career playoff games, and the move should certainly be looked at as a “win-now” move by the Sixers front office.

Unfortunately, the Sixers have not had a chance to see George Hill in action yet as he remains sidelined with a thumb injury. The lingering issue began in his time with the Thunder, and there still has yet to be a target return date for Hill.

What is the Injury?

George Hill only has played in 14 games this season prior to the thumb injury putting him on the sideline. The issue first occurred at the end of January in a matchup with the Clippers.

The injury was originally diagnosed as a sprained thumb, and he was even listed as questionable for a game three nights later. Upon further examination, it was discovered that Hill’s injury was more serious, and he elected to have surgery on his finger.

The surgery was to fix what was diagnosed as “Mallet finger,” which is essentially a bad jam of his thumb. This injury makes it difficult to extend the injured finger and can cause the surrounding tendon to become disconnected or even a piece of the bone to break off.

Recovery from surgery typically is 6 weeks with a pin in the finger and the hand protected by a cast or splint. Most athletes return to play in roughly 8 weeks, and it is not as serious of an issue as it may sound.

Overall, this is a fairly uncommon injury among NBA players, and it is also relevant to note that the injury is on Hill’s shooting hand. One recent example occurred with Dirk Nowitzki during their 2011 championship run. The injury was sustained during game 2 of the finals, with Dirk playing through it with a splint on his way to securing Finals MVP.

George Hill’s Return

The impression seemed to be that George Hill would be available to join the rotation relatively soon when he was acquired at the deadline. However, Doc Rivers gave a less optimistic outlook on Tuesday when he told reporters that he didn’t expect Hill to return “anytime soon.”

It has now been 75 days since Hill’s initial injury occurred. This nearly eleven-week period is expected to continue at least the next handful of games.

George Hill spoke to media members for the first time yesterday and made it clear there is no timetable for his return. Hill spoke highly of the Sixers team and was reassured that he would be back in time for the playoffs.

Sixers Outlook

It may be frustrating that the positive effects of the trade have yet to be felt, but the Sixers must continue to allow Hill to heal. In the grand scheme of things, it is no big deal that Hill misses a few regular-season games, and he will be ready when the Sixers need him most.

This was a move made for playoffs, and the veteran’s twelve years of experience will ensure he is ready. The cast was removed about two weeks ago, and he has begun physical therapy and limited practice with the team in the time since. Doc Rivers spoke highly of Hill’s presence around the team, saying he has been “almost like a coach.”

Doc Rivers put a tentative target date of Hill playing in 10 regular-season games prior to the playoffs, and neither Rivers nor Hill had any doubts about his playoff availability. Hill will be able to help solidify the bench rotation when he is able to return, and the Sixers will continue looking forward to this boost until he is ready.