Grant Hill has been sidelined by a bruise in his knee since the preseason,… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)
DENVER — Grant Hill smiled as soon as he was asked if he has a target date to play in his first game of the regular season for the Clippers.
"Yeah," Hill said, smiling. "In my mind."
Hill has a bone bruise in his right knee that has kept him out since the exhibition season.
He said he has "ramped up" his workout activity.
So Hill was asked what date he has in mind to play.
"Sometime in January," is all Hill would say.
"Hopefully soon I'll get to start practicing a little bit," he said. "They are stressing that a lot of it is how you respond. So a target date could be sooner, it could be later. You want to let your body dictate that."
Hill ran and shot before the Clippers played the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night, something he has been doing a lot of lately.
He sprinted on the treadmill for "about 30-minute intervals" on Tuesday.
"It's responding well," Hill said. "It's coming. I'm getting close, feeling good."
The Clippers play only two games next week, giving them five days off and time for the team to have some practices.
That could give Hill some time to practice with his teammates.
As for Chauncey Billups, who has tendinitis in his left foot, Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said his shooting guard is not as close as Hill appears to be.
Del Negro said Billups did get some therapy Tuesday.
"We're just trying to give him as much time as he needs and be smart about it," Del Negro said. "We don't want to rush either one back. We want to make sure that they are big factors for us as we move forward throughout the season."
Bledsoe working through his injury
It has been about two weeks since Eric Bledsoe injured his left hip during a hard fall against the Detroit Pistons.
Bledsoe hasn't been the same since, with even the Clippers point guard acknowledging that he doesn't have the same "explosion."
"It's feeling a whole lot better," Bledsoe said after he scored 12 points against the Nuggets.
"But I'm not there yet. I'll get there," he said.
Other player injuries
Lamar Odom (sore left ankle, strained ligament in right foot), Ronny Turiaf (sore right elbow) and DeAndre Jordan (sore ribs) all played Tuesday night despite their injuries.
Del Negro said Odom is very limited in what he can do.
"It didn't get worse the other day, which is good," Del Negro said. "But he's in some pain."
Del Negro said it's going to take Turiaf "longer" to heal because it's his shooting elbow and he "can't get enough rest."