Hill misses Game 5 with concussion
NEW YORK – George Hill missed Game 5 of the Pacers’ playoff series with New York on Thursday with a concussion suffered in Game 4 on Tuesday.
Hill was ruled out about 4 p.m. after an undergoing an examination. He had participated in the team’s shootaround that morning after taking a pain reliever upon reaching the court at Madison Square Garden.
Hill’s status for Game 6 on Saturday, if necessary, is uncertain.
Pacers coach Frank Vogel said the concussion occurred from a collision with Tyson Chandler. A replay showed that Hill was knocked down after being hit in the head with an elbow from Chandler early in that game, but team officials were uncertain exactly what caused the injury. Hill led the Pacers with 26 points in that game, as they took a 3-1 lead in the series.
D.J. Augustin was to start in Hill’s place, with Ben Hansbrough perhaps getting backup minutes. Vogel said Hill’s absence would not cause a major shift in strategy.
“We’ll have to manage some things when D.J is not in the game, but when D.J.’s our point guard, he’s run the team all year,” Vogel said. “Nothing would change with him in the game.”
Vogel said using Paul George as a backup point guard also is an option, but George is averaging 42 minutes per game in the series while leading the Pacers in scoring and defending New York’s leading scorer, Carmelo Anthony.
“I don’t know how much I can ask of him more than I’m already asking him,” Vogel said.
Augustin said he learned he would be starting when he woke up from his afternoon nap.
“I got a text from the trainer, so I kind of knew,” he said.
Augustin has averaged 8.5 points on 59 percent shooting in the series. He scored 18 points off the bench in the Pacers’ Game 1 victory here. Asked if he was excited about the starting opportunity, he said:
“Yeah, but I’ve been excited the whole playoffs, every game, even coming off the bench, so it’s exciting.
“It’s what we all play for and I’m in shape and ready to go,” he added.
Shooting guard Lance Stephenson also could get minutes as a backup point guard. Stephenson was a point guard in high school, and prefers that position.
“It’s a big opportunity,” Stephenson said before the game. “I’m just going to play ball, be aggressive and do what I regularly do. It’s just I’ll be playing the point.”
Vogel said Hill’s absence could have a ripple effect of opening time for forwards Orlando Johnson, Sam Young and Gerald Green to play more minutes.