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Solomon Hill has sights set on return to New Orleans Pelicans despite lack of recovery timetable

The small forward discussed the present need to clear a lot of hurdles, but is confident progress might come quickly.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Chicago Bulls Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

In recent days, Solomon Hill has reappeared around the New Orleans Pelicans, and if his rehabilitation continues to go accordingly, he’ll rejoin the team competitively on the floor before the conclusion of the regular season — even if he remains without a definitive timetable at the moment.

“No, it’s more feel,” said Hill. “With this one, it’s just building that strength, trying to get it as close to my right {leg} as possible. As far as what I do on the defensive end, it’s a lot of reaction stuff, a lot of quick movements. Once I can get that strength in the left, I’ll be able to slide, I’ll be able to close out, be able to do those things and trust it. You don’t want to go out there having a big disparity between the right and left and take the wrong step that could be a setback.”

Hill is currently engaged in light activities: running, lifting, stretching and getting some shots up. In addition, he plans on starting yoga soon. Although Hill can’t participate in basketball activities like 1-on-1 yet — because he can’t guard anyone, his cardiovascular and strength training is starting to pay dividends.

“It’s good, it’s good. Just the ability to be able to do things normally, except all of the explosive stuff. I know it’s just a process.”

It was apparent that being able to manage movements that most of us able-bodied humans take for granted was a big step forward for Hill, even though he was keen to push himself harder. He revealed in today’s media session that he thought dunking a basketball a month and a half ago was a realistic goal, but he discovered it wasn’t.

“It wasn’t a setback, but it put things in perspective for me. Just take your time.”

Solomon Hill is confident he will return to the team before the season is out and maintained he wouldn’t be here now if that wasn’t the case. He believes he could feel a lot differently in just a few weeks time in January, and his expectation is to start traveling with the team soon — another good sign.

With E’Twaun Moore, Jrue Holiday, Darius Miller and Dante Cunningham holding down the fort at small forward and the New Orleans Pelicans sitting inside the playoff bubble, Solomon Hill should not have the pressure to return too quickly.

Fans should be mindful of this fact.

The important thing isn’t how soon he can appear in his first game, but rather how effective Hill can be in his minutes. Considering all of the defensive lapses witnessed to date, a fully healthy Hill could be a key difference maker down the stretch.