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Mike Miller is (surprisingly) ready for training camp

Sep 16, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT

Miami Heat's Miller shoots over Oklahoma City Thunder's Westbrook during the first quarter in Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals in Miami Reuters

I’ll admit it, I was convinced that Mike Miller‘s three-point barrage against the Thunder in last year’s Finals was his way of blazing into glory, as in, off into the sunset. For two years, we’d watched Miller drag a body around that wasn’t just suffering in one part of his body, it was all of them. The back, the knee, the shoulder, the arm, the ankles. It hurt to watch him walkSo after winning the title and being an integral part of it, I thought for sure that would be it. Retire a champion, and get out of having to deal with the pain day after day.

Nope, Mike Miller’s one tough son of a Miller. Miller says he’s ready to start training camp, amazingly, and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that has to do with the decision for him notto have surgery on his back.

  After considering retirement during the NBA Finals and then contemplating back surgery at the completion of the Heat’s championship run, Miller is up and running and looking forward to the Sept. 29 start of training camp at AmericanAirlines Arena.

“I’m feeling pretty good,” he said Saturday.

“I basically looked at my options and back surgery, with Dr. Green pretty confident that we could get it to where I need to be without it. So we’re slowly but surely getting there,” he said at a Saturday promotional appearance at Maye Pediatric Dentistry and Shelling Orthodontics along with teammates James Jones and Udonis Haslem, who was there to collect contributions for the Udonis Haslem Children’s Foundation. “My body feels good. Like I said, we’ve just got to be smart about it.”

via Mike Miller looks to Miami Heatreturn in wake of NBA championship. – South Florida

Miller re-joins a Heat team that upgraded at various positions he played at. Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis join Shane Battier on the wing. So on the plus side, Miller won’t have to be depended on for big minutes. On the downside, if he has trouble again with staying on the floor this season, he could wind up getting those minutes back if he gets healthy. It’ll be a smaller role for him. But maybe that’s a good thing.

One thing that often gets lost with the talk of Miller’s shooting and his injury concerns is what came in the middle of all that. Miller is a tough-as-nails rebounder. Often hobbling on one leg or holding an injured shoulder, Miller would still chase down rebounds, make hustle plays, pressure the ball handler, do all the things that in reality he shouldn’t be able to do. Those things matter to the Heat. So no matter how much pain may be involved, and hopefully it’s less this time through, Miller’s going to give it another go. One more weapon for Miami.

Note: Tim Reynolds of the AP reported that Miller wanted to be back for training camp and was already planning on skipping surgery on July 17th. The fact that he’s definitely in for training camp is still notable, but this stuff isn’t breaking at all.

  1. hdanger10 - Sep 16, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    Large contract probably factored heavily.

  2. eventhorizon04 - Sep 16, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    One thing that was frustrating about the reporting about Mike Miller was the way people described his decision not to have back surgery as “surprising.”

    With his injury – a “bulging disk” – surgery should be a last resort – which is why his neurosurgeon Dr. Green encouraged him to try the alternatives.
    In the majority of cases, people can achieve significant improvement without surgery, mainly through physical therapy with their pain managed through medicines like Advil as well as injections of cortisone to reduce swelling (“epidural steroid injections”).

    The problem Mike had is that this problem cropped up during an NBA season – a lockout-shortened season with fewer days of rest in between games – so he couldn’t exactly take it easy and avoid squatting, jumping, and hard contact given his role on the Heat as a jump-shooter, defender, and rebounder. Since the season ended, though, he was able to rest his back and rehab at his own pace.

    • eventhorizon04 - Sep 16, 2012 at 12:31 PM

      Heat are better equipped than ever to allow Miller to ease back into the lineup with Ray Allen on the team.
      SG – Wade and Allen
      SF – LeBron, Battier, Jones

      Even if the team isn’t comfortable with Miller playing in game 1 due to his back, and even if LeBron spends a lot of time at PF, Battier and Jones should be easily able to split the time at SF by contributing 15-20 minutes each.

      Likewise, with Allen on the team and probably wanting as much playing time as possible, the SG rotation is set between Wade having 30-35 minutes per game and Allen having 15-20 minutes per game.

      When healthy, Miller is a better rebounder and defender than Jones, so he’d probably take Jones’ minutes as he heals up.

  3. dysraw1 - Sep 16, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    that still kills me that the Thunder was suppose to run circles around this guy and yet he winds up braking their backs

    • eventhorizon04 - Sep 16, 2012 at 12:33 PM

      What amazed me is that when the young and healthy James Harden was being guarded by limping Mike Miller, Harden didn’t aggressively try to exploit the matchup.

      Harden forced Miller to foul him a few times by beating Miller on drives to the basket, but OKC didn’t regularly force the issue by giving Harden the ball whenever Mike was on him.

      • dysraw1 - Sep 16, 2012 at 1:26 PM

        so true those type of match ups should be exploited to the hilt

      • dysraw1 - Sep 16, 2012 at 1:31 PM

        so true those type of match ups should be exploited to the hilt, it almost makes them winning seem like some kind of fluke

  4. rodge1 - Sep 16, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    Miami’s team-defense executed, that’s no fluke you haters.

  5. dysraw1 - Sep 16, 2012 at 6:53 PM

    they had more miracles than Smokey Robinson down 3-2 against Celtics

  6. 00maltliquor - Sep 16, 2012 at 9:55 PM

    He better be surprisingly ready for the very end of the bench!

  7. jleon1 - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:58 PM


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