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Report: Heat’s Mike Miller has serious thumb injury

Oct 21, 2010, 6:53 PM EDT

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UPDATE 6:52 pm: No official word from the Heat yet, but the discussion is if he will need surgery or not, and it looks like an end of November to mid December return.

That would be a blow to the Heat, a team built around three stars with a pretty limited bench. Miller was at the front of that bench, the best pure shooter on the team. Losing him would be another blow to the process of the jelling into a cohesive unit, which was already delayed with Dwyane Wade’s hamstring injury.

11:53 am: Mike Miller, the designated knock down shooter in the Miami Heat’s starting lineup, has suffered a serious thumb injury, according to our own Ira Winderman writing for the Sun Sentinel.

Miller injured the thumb on his right hand — his shooting hand — during practice Wednesday and is not with the team in Atlanta for a Thursday preseason game. He will see a hand specialist on Thursday in Florida, Winderman reports.

No word yet on how long Miller could be out. But if it is broken, that could be six weeks or more he sits out.

Miller is cast in the role of the gunner off the bench for the Heat, although during the preseason he has started with Dwyane Wade sitting out with a strained hamstring. He is the most consistent three-point shooter on the team and has hit 38.5 percent of his long balls this preseason, after hitting 48 percent last season. Miller was one of the first free agents the Heat went after once the Big Three were in place because they realized they needed a pure shooter to stretch the floor. They signed him to a five-year, $25 million deal.

Eddie House, himself just back with the team after recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, would likely step into that sixth man role.

The Heat open the season against the Boston Celtics next Tuesday. They have one more preseason game Friday night against the Magic in Tampa.

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