6:08 PM EST, February 20, 2012
The week before the All-Star game continues to be one that brings better news as it goes on.
Following their most dominant win in nearly a decade on Sunday-a 108-73 thrashing of the Bobcats-guard George Hill returned to full Pacers practice on Monday afternoon at Bankers Life Fieldhouse after missing the last three weeks due to injury
"He looke pretty good, we'll see how he responds," said head coach Frank Vogel after the session of Hill. "We'll see how he responds."
Hill has been out since a January 31st when he suffered a chip fracture of his left ankle against the Nets. Over the past week he's been spotted doing some light dribbling work but finally joined the regular scrimmage on Monday afternoon.
"Very anxious. It gets very boring to sit over there sometimes," said Hill of trying to get back. "You want to get in and try to help your teammates win basketball games."
When Hill will do that is still to be determined and could be delayed thanks to the Pacers schedule between now and the All-Star game on Sunday.
Indiana will face the Hornets and the Bobcats to round out the week, two of the weakest teams in the NBA, so letting that ankle heal for one more week could be an option.
Still Hill didn't rule out a return for Tuesday's game against New Orleans at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
"At the end of the day its going to be me," said Hill of when he'll come back. "How my ankle feels. Do I feel like I'm going to be guarding the pick-and-rolls and trying to push off and things like that.
"Everything else is doing good its just me getting ready with the little bit of pain that it has still."
The Pacers will be happy to see Hill return because he provided a stable presence in the back court till his injury kept him out of the last 11 games. Hill averaged 9.3 points a game coming off the bench for about 24 minutes a game and he was missed during the Pacers' recent five game slide.
"He brings a different level on both ends of the court. Our tempo picks up our defensive intensity picks up. A great reader of defense on the offensive end, brings more three-point shooting, veteran leadership.
"He really just lifts everything on the court up."
Danny Granger concurred with Vogel, hoping that Hill's return is sooner than later for a team that currently sits sixth in the Eastern Conference standings.
"He definitely was missed," said Granger of Hill. "Whenever you have an experienced guard of his caliber it always helps the team."
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