Heat's Mike Miller sidelined with thumb injury
MIAMI (AP) -- A freak injury to Mike Miller's right thumb is expected to keep one of the NBA's top 3-point shooters sidelined for several weeks, yet another blow to the injury-prone Miami Heat.
Miller, a Mitchell native, was injured when the thumb on his shooting hand got tangled in a teammate's jersey during practice Wednesday. The Heat have not revealed a formal diagnosis or possible recovery time, only saying that more tests were scheduled on Thursday, and teammates reacted with ominous concern.
"They say it's not season-ending," Heat forward Udonis Haslem told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in Atlanta, where Miami plays its next-to-last preseason game Thursday night.
Miller is not on the trip with the Heat, a swing that concludes with the preseason finale in Tampa, Fla. tonight against Orlando. His injury is expected to be reviewed by hand surgeon Dr. Andrew Weiland, a New York-based specialist who regularly treats professional athletes.
Miller had been starting at shooting guard during the preseason in place of Dwyane Wade, who has missed all but the first 3:17 of the exhibition schedule with a strained right hamstring. Miller was averaging 9.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 24.4 preseason minutes per game with Miami.
Wade, who has also been dealing with a trial that'll decide custody of his two young sons, is expected to resume working out with teammates on Sunday -- just two days before Miami opens the regular season in Boston. He's expected to be in Tampa for the preseason finale against the Magic, but will not play.
Oddly, there was a slew of good news for the Heat on injury fronts Thursday. Guards Mario Chalmers (ankle) and Eddie House (shoulder) were deemed healthy enough to play against the Hawks, and Wade has been cleared for full contact drills, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
But the Miller situation may overshadow all that news.
Miller signed a $25 million, five-year contract with Miami this summer. He was the NBA's second-best shooter from 3-point range -- 48 percent -- last season and came to the Heat in large part because of the opportunities he could get playing alongside Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
For his career, Miller has averaged 13.7 points on 46 percent shooting, 41 percent shooting from 3-point range.
With Miller sidelined, the Heat will likely use James Jones -- another top 3-point shooter -- even more at small forward than perhaps originally planned.