Two Thursdays ago, the Philadelphia 76ers went into the NBA trade deadline, expected to make a big splash. While they had a hand in a few possible moves, Daryl Morey, Elton Brand, and the rest of the Sixers front office came out of the deadline making just one trade in a three-team deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder and the New York Knicks.
Philly traded Tony Bradley, Vincent Poirier, Terrance Ferguson, and several second-round picks to acquire the young forward Ignas Brazdeikis and the veteran point guard George Hill as the headliner of the package.
With Hill eventually joining the Sixers' lineup, now they have a postseason battle-tested backup ball-handler, who will be a great addition to rotation as the 76ers gear up for the final stretch of the season before heading into the playoffs.
However, when they traded for Hill, the Sixers knew that his debut might take a little longer than every other trade acquisition around the league. Earlier in the year, Hill injured his thumb and elected to undergo surgery to get it repaired.
The last time Hill had seen the court was on January 24 when the Thunder took on the Los Angeles Clippers. At this point, Hill is nearing a return, but the Sixers couldn't quite put a timeframe on his recovery when they first landed him in the trade.
"He's fine," Sixers President Daryl 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."
76ers head coach Doc Rivers made it clear that they won't rush Hill back into the mix. While they could certainly use him -- the 76ers want to make sure he's one-hundred percent before trotting him out in their lineup for the first time.
"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."
At this point, the Sixers are home and ready to host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night. While Hill can join the team now that he resumed on-court basketball activities recently, the veteran guard will not be cleared for action on Saturday as the Sixers take on the Minnesota Timberwolves.