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Grant Hill is pointing fingers at the wrong people

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Yesterday on the FanHouse I wrote about how Grant Hill regrets playing on his injured foot in his last days with Detroit in 2000:

"You're assuming the medical advice you're getting is the right advice," Grant Hill says now. "When they say you can do no further damage, let me tell you, you can always do further damage."

"All the time, I regret it," Hill admits. "I had no business being out on the court. I was heavily medicated and went out there and played until the wheels fell off. But I'm not going to blame anybody or point any fingers."

I took issue with the claims, writing:

While Hill's injury certainly wasn't helped by the fact he continued playing, the fact it took him several years to get back on the court suggests his biggest problem was botched surgeries and/or rushed rehabilitation.

I really feel for Hill -- he was my favorite player in the NBA his entire time in Detroit, and he's always been a class act. But now that he's nearing the end of his career, it looks like he may be letting some of his lingering bitterness and regret re-write history.

As a follow-up, Chris McCosky weighed in today in the Detroit News, providing even more ammo for my argument:

Pistons physical therapist Arnie Kander accompanied Hill to that first surgery at the Cleveland Clinic, which was performed by the same surgeon that once repaired the knee of Hill's father, Calvin. Hill doesn't want to criticize that surgery publicly because it was arranged by his father. To criticize the surgery would be akin to criticizing his father and he won't do that.

Kander tried to get Hill to delay the surgery, preferring to wait and try some therapy on it first. The therapy, Kander reasoned, might have given the surgeons a better read on the break and would have helped determine the right size and strength of the screws that were inserted to re-attach the broken bones.

Hill didn't follow that advice and rushed ahead with the surgery. It took another four surgeries to get the ankle back to playable condition.

More significantly, though, nobody forced Hill to play in that series. He was desperate to play. George Irvine, the coach at the time, nearly begged Hill not to play. Irvine told him it wasn't worth risking a career for one playoff series.

But Hill had grown weary of people in Detroit perceiving him as a silver-spoon softie. He had grown weary of not getting his team out of the first round of the playoffs. He was determined to play.

I'll take it one step further -- Hill's follow-up surgeries were performed at Duke University, and though it seems apparent to me that his doctors didn't get the job done, I've never heard Hill fault them, perhaps because he doesn't want to criticize his alma mater.

Hill has always been one of my favorite players, in part because he's always been such a class act on and off the court. But seriously, if he's going to start pointing fingers this late in his career, he might want to at least blame the right people.

Grant Hill's comments about injury don't reveal whole story [Detroit News]