By Stefan Swiat, Suns.com
18 seasons have passed since Hill entered the NBA.
Few appreciate the game like those who have received a second chance. Just ask Grant Hill.
When Hill arrived in the Valley of the Sun in 2007, he was the poster boy for the oft-injured. But the seven-time All-Star gave himself a fresh start in Phoenix, and became one of the most durable players in the league the past few seasons.
From 2008-11, Hill missed a grand total of three games, playing in every single one during the 2008-09 season. However, last season the Suns’ co-captain missed 17 games due to knee issues.
Although he’ll turn 40 during next fall’s training camp, Hill has zero plans to end his career while on the mend. One of the few Suns who hasn’t skipped town this offseason, Hill has been a consistent visitor of the the team’s training and weight rooms throughout the week.
“I’m just focusing on being healthy,” the veteran small forward said. “One of the exciting things of being able to spend most of my time here this summer is that I could work with our training staff and get myself right and ready for next season.”
Most of the games that he missed came in late March, when Hill underwent minor right knee surgery to repair a medial meniscus tear. He also had surgery on that same knee last offseason, which hampered him during training camp and the beginning of the season.
Despite the surgery, the former Dukie worked diligently to return to the lineup by the end of the season, as the Suns fought for one of the final playoff positions. However, he never became completely comfortable.
“I tried to come back and I played a couple of minutes,” Hill said. “I was obviously laboring out there, and the coaches and training staff recognized that. We tried, but it just needed more time.”
With all of the medications that he took because of his surgery, Hill sought to cleanse his system by going on an all-juice diet to begin the offseason. For a week straight, he drank three-to-four quarts a day of juice that contained some sort of combination of fruits and vegetables from a blender.
The diet caused him to lose 15 pounds.
“It was good to know that I had the will power to do it,” he said. “I’m not a doctor, but I do think there are some health benefits from it.”
A day younger than Portland’s Kurt Thomas, Hill was the second-oldest player in the NBA last season. So aside from appearing in his wife Tamia’s new video, Hill isn’t shooting any new movies, making any plans to visit the White House or starting any new ventures this offseason.
He’s strictly single-minded about one thing: his health.
“I’m feeling good and I’m getting some rest,” Hill said. “I’ll be here most of the summer working and getting ready for next year.”