The Philadelphia 76ers didn't make a splash at the trade deadline this past week, but they didn't come out of the market's close empty-handed, either. As they needed another ball-handler in the mix to come off the bench, the Sixers landed Oklahoma City Thunder veteran point guard George Hill.
While Hill will certainly offer the Sixers a notable boost down the stretch of the season, the veteran guard won't give Philly much value at this time. For the last few months, Hill has been rehabbing a thumb injury, which he suffered earlier in the year.
Hill hasn't appeared on in the court for over 20 games for the Thunder after opting to undergo surgery. At this point, Hill won't perform for Oklahoma City again, and the next time he takes the floor, it will be the 76ers. So far, Philly has played two games since the acquisition of Hill, and it seems it might be a little while before they actually utilize their newest addition.
Last Thursday, Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey admitted he didn't have an estimated timeline on Hill's return. As the 76ers' medical staff didn't have an opportunity to check on the veteran point guard at that point, Morey could only assume when Hill would return.
"He's fine," Morey said in regards to Hill. "He's obviously going to be full-tilt by the playoffs... I don't say that because he won't be back earlier. Our medical staff hasn't had a chance to evaluate him yet, but our understanding is that his time back is measured in... I don't want to give a timeline, but it's not long."
On Saturday night, the 76ers offered their first official update on Hill. According to a team source, the veteran guard will resume on-court basketball activities in the "coming days." While the team intends to get him back to work on the practice court, a return on gameday could not be confirmed.
After wrapping up one of the very few practices this season, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers pretty much confirmed there's no chance of Hill making his debut on the 76ers' current road trip. And while he's unclear when the veteran will actually take the court for the first time, he made clear that Hill will not be rushed back.
"I think he'll join us when we get back from the road trip, you know, he's still doing some rehab work," Rivers said. "We want him to get through that. We're not gonna force him back or push him back. He's been out for a good what? Six to eight weeks? So, even when he's cleared the play, conditioning is a factor. He'll be with us, though, once we return back from the Cleveland game."
Getting everybody, including Hill, healthy before the playoffs is key for the 76ers this season. It shouldn't take that long for Hill to return, but it seems like his eventual debut is not as close as many might desire at this point in time.