George Hill’s back problem has been a thorn in the side of the Cleveland Cavaliers this postseason. The trouble started in Game 1, when Hill struggled to put up just seven points in 18 minutes of play. After the game, coach Ty Lue revealed Hill’s back had stiffened up on him halfway through the game.
Hill tried to play through the injury in Game 2, and while foul trouble was the reason for his low numbers, he was obviously less than 100%. The issue was persistent enough to require an MRI, but the scans came back clean. It appears that Hill is just dealing with back spasms, but he just can’t seem to shake the injury.
Hill has been able to stay relatively healthy this season, only missing 10 games when he was with the Kings (though most of those absences were in late December when his girlfriend gave birth to their daughter). He then started 22 straight games with the Cavs before he missed four games at the end of March when he twisted his ankle. Hill’s injury history is the biggest concern here. He’s dealt with various lower body injuries in the past three years that have resulted in multi-week absences, and he seems to miss time every season to a lingering foot injury. His health seemed to have made a turn for the better until the end of the season.
Back injuries are tricky and can flare up at any moment, and given Hill’s injury history, the Cavs will likely be cautious with their starting point guard. Hill is a High Injury Risk and has a Below Average Health Performance Factor, so he most likely wouldn’t be much of an asset to the Cavs if he tried to play through the injury right now. Jose Calderon has taken over the starting PG duties, but the Cavs are still primarily running the ball through LeBron James. If the Cavs make it out of this series, Hill should be able to return in two weeks, according to our metrics.
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