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Hill healthier; team ailing

By JAMAL THALJI

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 22, 2001


TAMPA -- Grant Hill's surgically-repaired left ankle is less and less of a concern for the Magic as he concentrates on conditioning and regaining the form that made him a six-time All-Star.

TAMPA -- Grant Hill's surgically-repaired left ankle is less and less of a concern for the Magic as he concentrates on conditioning and regaining the form that made him a six-time All-Star.

But there's another reason Orlando no longer obsesses with Hill's health: The team is dealing with a spate of more pressing preseason injuries.

In his visit to the Ice Palace on Oct. 14, Tracy McGrady strained his lower back, aggravating an offseason injury. McGrady is listed as day to day, but hasn't played since the Magic lost to the Hawks that day, and didn't make the bus ride to Tampa for Sunday's game.

Mike Miller, last season's rookie of the year, is out four to six weeks with a chip fracture of the fifth metatarsal on his right foot. He was injured Oct. 19 at Houston, and didn't make the trip to Tampa.

Darrell Armstrong needed eight stitches on his chin after hitting Monty Williams' head during practice on Saturday.

Oh, yeah, and Steven Hunter's contact lens came out with 9:15 left in the second quarter Sunday.

It has been a preseason filled with misfortune for the Magic.

"I can't think of anything else that can go wrong this preseason," coach Doc Rivers said. "We can't get work when we want work, we've got guys injured, and there's nothing you can do about it."

STAYING IN ORLANDO: So much for the Tampa Bay Magic.

Before Sunday's game, Orlando general manager John Gabriel tried to put to rest any notions that the franchise was contemplating a move down Interstate 4 to the Ice Palace.

"We're concentrating on our season right now," Gabriel said. "We've tabled that discussion until another time."

In other words, no.

The Magic is trying to get a new state-of-the-art facility built in Orlando to replace the 12-year-old TD Waterhouse Centre.

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