INDIANAPOLIS – After scoring 9 points in the opening quarter of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Friday night, George Hill appeared to be headed for a happy homecoming. But after his back locked up, limiting him to just 9 second-half minutes in the Cavs’ 92-90 loss to the Indiana Pacers, Hill’s playoff future appears to now be in doubt.
According to Cleveland head coach Tyronn Lue, the Indianapolis native will undergo an MRI on Saturday to receive a deeper examination of his ailing back. Officially, Hill is listed as questionable with back spasms for Game 4 on Sunday night.
Hill initially injured his back in Game 1 following a screen by Pacers forward Trevor Booker.
The potential loss of Hill could hardly come at a worse time for the Cavs, who already find themselves trailing Indiana 2 games to 1 in the best-of-seven series. Following the trade deadline revamping of the Cleveland roster, Hill has been a mainstay of Lue’s rotation, starting at point guard in 24 games since arriving via the Sacramento Kings in February.
Hill’s vitality to the Cavs’ postseason success was made apparent on Friday, as his 11 first-half points helped push Cleveland to a 57-40 halftime lead. But with his availability limited in the second half, the Cavs were forced to rely on LeBron James and Jordan Clarkson for ball-handling duties, with the former playing the entirety of the final 24 minutes of action.
Should Hill be unable to play against the Pacers on Sunday, Lue could turn to James or Clarkson to take over as Cleveland’s starting point guard. He could also call on Jose Calderon, who started 32 games for the Cavs season and appeared in Games 1 and 2 before not playing on Friday night.
Tip-off for Game 4 on Sunday is slated for 8:30 p.m. ET.