Jordan Hill breathed a heavy sigh.
With tape wrapped around his back, the Lakers forward still tried to come to grips with two realities. One, handling disappointment that the herniated disk in his back may lead to continual setbacks throughout the season. Two, dealing with the actual pain.
The Lakers’ 105-95 loss Friday to the Clippers before 18,997 at Staples Center struck a nerve for reasons beyond having an 0-3 start for the first time since the 1978-79 season. In that game, Hill also experienced further pain in his back, limiting him to two points on 1 of 4 shooting and one rebound in eight minutes, 48 seconds.
“It’s definitely frustrating dealing with something like this,” Hill said. “Things happen. You just have to keep your head high and keep working on it. It will get better.”
That didn’t happen against the Clippers. With 10:26 left in the second quarter, Clippers forward Ronny Turiaf blocked Hill’s shot attempt. That’s when the problems started.
“It twisted awkwardly and I felt pain in my back,” Hill said. “I’m still trying to get it back to where I need to be.”
He took that approach by immediately going to the bench. For the rest of the second quarter, Hill sat on an elevated chair with padding. He then received treatment at halftime.
Hill went back into the game once Lakers center Dwight Howard picked up his fourth foul with 3:37 left in the third quarter. Hardly anything improved. Clippers center DeAndre Jordan blocked his shot 20 seconds into his return. Hill lasted for 56 seconds before needing to go back to the bench.
With the Clippers’ reserves outscoring their bench, 46-16, the Lakers’ clearly miss him. They’ll have to get used to it. It’s possible Hill will experience both good and bad days as he rehabs the herniated disk in his back. The Lakers will be treating him as if he’s day-to-day until further notice.
“I’m relieved,” Hill said. “I just have to keep working on it.”
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