Duke's Hill to start Friday


Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said yesterday that junior forward Grant Hill is ready to play again and would start Friday night against Georgia Tech in the opening round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament at the Charlotte Coliseum.

Hill badly sprained the big toe on his left foot Feb. 13 during the first half of a home loss to Wake Forest. The 6-foot-8, 225-pounder, who was leading the Blue Devils in scoring (18.3 points a game) and was their second-best rebounder (6.6) has missed the past six games because of the injury. Duke went 4-2 without him.

"He practiced nearly the whole time yesterday [Monday], and he felt pretty good," said Krzyzewski, whose defending ACC champion -- and two-time defending national champion -- will play in the last quarterfinal game. "He'll be in there, unless something happens the next three days."

It marks the third straight year that Hill, the son of Orioles executive Calvin Hill, has missed time with an injury. As a freshman, he missed two games because of a broken nose. Last season, he sat out the last three games of the regular season with a sprained ankle. Though he came back for the ACC tournament, Hill didn't start until the championship game.

"There's going to be some pain, but I've been playing with some pain for three years," said Hill. "It's pretty much healed. Today, it feels really good."

With Hill's return, freshman guard Chris Collins will come off the bench. Collins, who struggled earlier, has played well of late, including a 15-point performance Sunday.

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