Jordan Hill to begin running drills Thursday, but return to court this season seems unlikely

After spending the past three months rehabbing his surgically repaired left hip, Lakers forward Jordan Hill will begin running tomorrow on an anti-gravity treadmill at 70 percent of his body weight, the latest sign that he’s slowly but surely progressing.

But will Hill progress enough to return to the Lakers this season? It seems unlikely.

Barring any setbacks, the Lakers plan to increase Hill’s running through next week until he reaches full body weight. The Lakers then estimate Hill would return within three to four weeks from then after participating in both full weight-bearing running and jumping exercises as well as on-court basketball drills. In a best-case scenario, Hill would return in early to mid May during the Western Conference semifinals or finals.

First things first.

The Lakers have to advance that far, let alone make the playoffs. The Lakers (42-37) have only a one-game lead over the Utah Jazz (41-38) for the Western Conference’s eighth playoff spot with three games remaining. If both teams finish with identical records, Utah would make the postseason because it owns a tie breaker by winning two of the three regular-season matchups between both teams.

The news stemmed from Hill’s visit with Dr. Byrd in Nashville, Tenn. for the past two days still reveals an unexpected development. After having surgery Jan. 23 on his left hip, the Lakers expected Hill to stay sidelined for at least six months.

Hill injured his left hip in the Lakers’ loss Jan. 6th against the Denver Nuggets. He had appeared in 29 games averaging 6.7 points and 5.7 rebounds in 15.8 minutes.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@dailynews.com

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