It won’t be long before 76ers fans see how George Hill meshes on the court with his new teammates.
“I would say something next week would be, I guess, optimistic,” Doc Rivers said Friday of a timeline for Hill playing in a game. “But I’m optimistic. So I’m going to go with that.”
The Sixers have four games next week. They host the Golden State Warriors at the Wells Fargo Center on Monday, followed by back-to-back contests against the Phoenix Suns (Wednesday at home) and the Milwaukee Bucks (Thursday on the road). They’ll cap the week at Milwaukee on Saturday.
The Sixers acquired Hill from the Oklahoma City Thunder in a three-team trade on March 25 for depth in the postseason.
The 34-year-old had surgery on his right thumb on Feb. 2, and hasn’t played in a game since Jan. 24, but the Sixers have always said they wouldn’t rush him back. Friday’s home contest against the Los Angeles Clippers marked the 12th game he’s missed since being acquired.
On Thursday, he participated in a scrimmage with the Sixers’ low-minute guys and player-development coaches.
”He had a good workout yesterday, a live workout, “ Rivers said. “I think that may have been his first. Today, he was on the floor, but not live. Tomorrow we will be able to do a little bit more. Then we have a couple of days when we can do some work. So we’ll see.”
Hill told Rivers his hand felt fine, “his lungs didn’t.”
The 13-year veteran is getting back in shape after suffering what is described as a mallet finger injury. Also known as “baseball finger,” it can occur when a ball bends a finger backward and injures a tendon, according to orthoinfo.org.
Rivers a strong candidate for coach of the year
Ben Simmons has been telling people why he should be a lock for NBA defensive player of the year.
Teammate Joel Embiid is making a push for both DPOY and Most Valuable Player awards. Yet one could argue the Sixers’ real MVP is new coach Doc Rivers. Matisse Thybulle made that case during Friday’s shootaround.
“We have a lot of the same players [from last season], but for the most part it feels like a different team,” Thybulle said. “He’s got the guys really bought into just the culture of what we do, and guys have really bought into their roles. I think that’s a huge thing, even from superstars.
“Whether it’s Joel, Ben, Tobias [Harris], you can be a superstar and have a role. These guys have done a really, really good job of being the best at that role. .... Doc just consistently putting these guys in positions to be successful.”
The Sixers headed into Friday night’s game with a 38-17 record and the top spot in the Eastern Conference.