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Grant Hill's return to Clippers remains on hold

Coach Vinny Del Negro decides to give the 40-year-old forward, sidelined since October because of a bone bruise in his right knee, more time to prepare to play.

January 10, 2013|By Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times

Grant Hill's long-awaited Clippers debut will have to wait at least three more days after Coach Vinny Del Negro elected not to activate him for Wednesday's game with the Dallas Mavericks.

Hill worked out with the team twice this week and participated in Wednesday's pregame shootaround, but Del Negro chose to continue proceeding cautiously with the 40-year-old forward, sidelined since October because of a bone bruise in his right knee.

"I just want to give him a couple more days of conditioning and contact. Get his timing down," Del Negro said. "Obviously, he's been out awhile."

The Clippers' next game is Saturday afternoon against Orlando at Staples Center and Del Negro made it clear Hill's status remains a work in progress.

"We'll see how he does in the next couple of days and we'll make that decision," he said.

The Clippers did have guard Jamal Crawford back after a two-game absence because of a sore left foot. And guard Chauncey Billups, out five weeks because of tendinitis in his left foot, has begun basketball-related drills, bringing the team closer to full strength than it has been all season.

"You add a Chauncey Billups and a Grant Hill and they're both healthy, they're pretty high-quality players who have had very successful careers and have played at a high level," Del Negro said. "Hopefully, that will just give us a little bit of a better team and we'll be more complete.

"I know that we have to get better. And those guys make us better."

Celebrity treatment

The inseparable duo of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin is scheduled to appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on Thursday, more evidence that even Hollywood may be turning away from the Lakers and looking to invest in Lob City.

A year ago Kimmel, a diehard Lakers fan, had Paul on his show and chided him about wanting to play alongside Kobe Bryant instead of Griffin. Expect the interview to take a different tack Thursday with Paul's Clippers leading the Pacific Division while Kimmel's — and Bryant's — Lakers are five games under .500.

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

twitter.com/@kbaxter11

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