Currently rehabbing a surgically repaired left hip that he says feels 80-85 percent healthy, Lakers forward Jordan Hill plans to visit a doctor in Nashville in about three to four weeks.
The Lakers initially estimated Hill would sit out for at least six months after undergoing surgery Jan. 23 on his left hip. But a strict rehab and diet regiment enabled Hill to return to the court in limited minutes in the Lakers’ Games 2, 3 and 4 first-round losses to the San Antonio Spurs.
“I felt great. It was probably a smart thing to keep it rested, but I felt good about it and I just wanted to play definitely in the playoffs,” said Hill, who averaged 3.3 points and 3.7 rebounds in only 10.3 minutes per game. “I went out there and gave it a shot. I feel real good.”
Hill also reported that he doesn’t have any lingering back issues stemmed from a herniated disk he suffered during preseason. Still, Hill said that it’s likely he won’t ever feel fully 100 percent considering the severity of his hip surgery.
“Once you injure something, it’s not going to be back to where it originally came from,” Hill said. “But it’s not going to stop me from doing what I do.”
That job description seems pretty simple.
Before he injured his left hip in the Lakers’ loss Jan. 6th against the Denver Nuggets, Hill had averaged 6.7 points and 5.7 rebounds in 15.8 minutes through 29 games.
“I’m an energy guy,” Hill said. “I just go out there and give it my all and I’m not afraid to do so.”
Hill fills that role seamlessly, but it took some time before Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni allowed him to do that. Hill played single-digit minutes in two of the Lakers’ first four games under D’Antoni.
Hill opened his career with the New York Knicks under D’Antoni in a somewhat precarious position. After averaging only four points in 25 minutes through 24 games in New York at the beginning of the 2008-9 season, Hill was then traded to the Houston Rockets with Jared Jefferies before the trade deadline as part of a three-team deal that resulted in the Rockets’ Tracy McGrady going to the Knicks.
Hill then told the Houston Chronicle, “Coach D’Antoni, he relies on his veterans more than rookies.” D’Antoni then responded to the New York Post, “I don’t like to play bad rookies.”
Hill said he leaned on his previous experience under D’Antoni in hopes to convince him otherwise about his role. Hill also tried expanding his mid-range game.
“I stayed ready for it. I knew he played small ball a lot. “When I knew he was going to be the coach again, I was like, ‘Okay,'” Hill said, making a sighing noise. “I just tried to stay positive and think positive and do whatever he needed of me.”
And with a full summer ahead of him, that plan mostly involves improving his health.
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org