Miller will play in Game 5 despite newborn being in ICUMIAMI — For Mitchell native Mike Miller, this Miami Heat playoff run is coming at a personally trying time.
By: The Associated Press, The Daily Republic
By TIM REYNOLDS
The Associated Press
MIAMI — For Mitchell native Mike Miller, this Miami Heat playoff run is coming at a personally trying time.
Miller’s newborn daughter Jaelyn remains in the intensive care unit of a South Florida hospital because of complications, her condition closely and constantly monitored by doctors. Miller accompanied the Heat on their flight to Chicago for tonight’s Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, acknowledging that it would be difficult to keep his emotions in check.
“Obviously, I haven’t been away from her,” Miller said Wednesday afternoon after Miami went through a light workout. “I was there until 4 o’clock again this morning. That’ll be the hard part, when you’re away and having to make decisions while you’re away. That makes it difficult.”
Jaelyn was born between Games 2 and 3 of the East finals. Miller has not missed either game since she was born, and told reporters on Tuesday night — after perhaps one of his best games with the Heat — that his daughter is “a fighter.”
“She’s doing good right now,” Miller said Wednesday. “And hopefully she’ll continue to do better.”
Miller had 12 points off the bench in Miami’s win over Chicago in Game 4, and the Heat outscored the Bulls by a staggering 36 points with him in the game. The Heat lead the best-of-seven series 3-1.
Miller had a tough season with Miami, breaking the thumb on his shooting hand during the preseason, then dealing with an array of other injuries as the year went along.
“This puts things in perspective,” Miller said. “You take things for granted. Makes my thumb injuries a lot less important, for sure.”
Udonis Haslem, Miller’s closest friend on the Heat and his former teammate with the Florida Gators, said he went through a similar situation when his son was born and needed to be in an ICU unit for several days earlier this season.
Haslem said Wednesday that Miller is handling things as well as can be expected.
“He’s always been a family-oriented guy,” Haslem said.
The situation also hit particularly close to home for center Zydrunas Ilgauskas. He and his wife were expecting twins in 2007, when complications arose and both babies were lost after being born four months premature.
“He has a lot on his mind,” Ilgauskas said. “You just try to be a good friend right now. He’s one of the toughest individuals I’ve ever been around. He’s worked so hard, he’s just a blue-collar guy who comes to play every day. But this, this is life.”