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Suns forward Grant Hill undergoes knee surgery

Suns forward Grant Hill underwent surgery Friday to repair
a torn meniscus, and is expected to miss at least two
weeks, and possibly the rest of the regular season.

Hill missed the Suns’ last two games — both of which were
losses — with what was described as “right knee
inflammation.”

Hill underwent an MRI Thursday that revealed the injury
first suffered in a win against the Cleveland Cavaliers
March 25 after Hill took a charge.

The Suns find themselves with a 25-26 record with 15
regular season games remaining. Currently, Phoenix is two
games behind Utah and Houston, who hold the last two
playoff spots in the Western Conference.

“It’s going to be tough,” Suns guard Steve Nash said about
fighting for a playoff spot without Hill. “We kind of need
everything to go exactly our way these last few weeks, and
we’re going to have to just be really tough — physically
and mentally — and together, and try to find a way to win
some of these games that people don’t expect us to win.”

The 39-year-old Hill has been unusually healthy since
joining the Suns before the 2007-08 season after an
injury-ravaged six-year stay in Orlando. Hill has missed
only 20 games in a Suns uniform and the team is 11-9 when
the veteran is in street clothes.

However, Phoenix is just 1-4 without Hill on the floor
this season.

“At the end of the day somebody’s just going to have to
step in and pick up where he left off,” Suns coach Alvin
Gentry said about moving on without Hill. “We’re still
trying to battle to stay in this playoff race, so
somebody’s obviously going to have to elevate their game.

“We’ll stick some guys in there and see who can do it for
us.”

Hill is the Suns’ best defensive player, and in his
absence, opponents have flourished. Phoenix allows an
average of 97.6 points per game, but with Hill on the
bench, that number increases to 103.2 points per contest.

So while Hill helps out in a variety ways on the offensive
end, his absence will hurt most on defense.

“What it does is that it takes away some of the
flexibility that we have that we can do from a defensive
standpoint,” Gentry said, adding that the team can still
be solid with standard match-ups. “We still have to
rebound the basketball and we still have to not turn it
over.

“Nothing has changed with him being out, the emphasis
still has to be on us executing and taking care of the
basketball and then being able to rebound it and being
solid in taking away dribble-penetration.”

Arizona Sports’ Craig Grialou contributed to this
report