Miami sharpshooter Miller to miss 8 weeks because of surgery
Mike Miller is expected to miss about eight weeks while recovering from surgery
Udonis Haslem said Miller recently had surgery for what he believes is a hernia
Haslem, Chris Bosh and Joel Anthony returned to the Heat's facility to work out
Such was an auspicious beginning for the reigning Eastern Conference champions.
Continuing a trend from last season, when he played in only half of Miami's 82 regular-season games, Miller will miss about eight weeks while recovering from hernia surgery. Miller told The Associated Press that he had the procedure earlier this week, adding that he isn't sure how the injury happened.
"It's unreal with my luck right now," Miller said. "When it rains it pours."
So a day that was supposed to be tinged with optimism - the return of some Heat players to the team facility for the first time since the NBA lockout began July 1 - came with a cloud of uncertainly. Miller missed the start of last season, his first with the Heat, after breaking his right thumb by getting tangled in LeBron James' jersey during a preseason practice. He had shoulder problems during the year and needed offseason surgery on his left thumb.
Now comes this, amid widespread speculation that the Heat may consider using the new amnesty provision in the still-not-completed new collective bargaining agreement to jettison Miller and the approximate $4.35 million - that's pro-rated for a 66-game schedule, the original total was $5.4 million - he would have made this season. He's owed $18.2 million for the three seasons that follow this one as well.
"I know Mike. He's a strong guy, he's going to stay positive and he's going to get back as soon as he can," said Heat forward Udonis Haslem, who went to the University of Florida with Miller and considers him one of his very closest friends. "The key with Mike is, we've got to fight him not to get back too fast. He's going to want to be out there. He's going to want to play. He's got to just pace himself and get healthy."
Haslem, Chris Bosh and Joel Anthony were among a handful of Heat players working out at the team's arena Thursday for the first time since June, and Dexter Pittman sent word he would arrive later in the day. It was the first day players could return to team facilities since the NBA lockout began July 1. Free agents Juwan Howard and James Jones also worked out; both were with the Heat last season.
More players are likely over the next few days. James and Dwyane Wade are expected next week. Haslem and Bosh are both under contract and worked out in Heat gear; Jones, who says he isn't sure where he will play this season, was not in team-stamped apparel.
The lockout is not over, but the NBA is allowing teams to open their doors again in anticipation of training camps starting Dec. 9. The regular season is expected to begin Dec. 25.
The NBA and its players struck a tentative deal on the framework of a new CBA last weekend.
It was the first sort-of official business for the Heat since they cleaned out lockers in the days after the NBA finals loss to Dallas. However, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and team president Pat Riley were nowhere to be found on Thursday, forbidden from seeing the workouts.
"It was exciting. It's like a breath of fresh air," a noticeably more-muscular Bosh said of returning to the team facility. "It's kind of like an exhale, finally getting to see everybody, `Hey, how are you doing?' Getting to talk to everybody, not just to say hello and kind of be together with our teammates. Little things like putting on the gear and being in the locker room, it feels really good. I don't take it for granted anymore. I feel good about it and I feel good to be here."
Haslem said he's no longer slowed by the ruptured foot ligament that ailed him last season, though he's holding off on full-court work until camp begins.
"I missed being around here," Haslem said. "I missed the atmosphere. I missed the work, everything about it."
For now, he's also missing someone - that being Miller.
"He's been like a brother," Haslem said. "It's more than just a friendship. Going through the injuries together, if you can believe it, we got even closer. I know how hard he's worked this summer. ... He's really put a lot of hard work in and really looking forward to this year. It's really unfortunate."
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