On the day of the final game of the preseason, Erik Spoelstra and the Heat received some very bad news. Sharpshooter Mike Miller will be out until at least January after suffering what is being called a freak accident during Wednesday's practice. He tore a ligament and also suffered a fracture of his right thumb, and had it repaired during a surgery on Friday in Coral Gables.
Now Miller's shooting hand will be in a hard cast for the next month and then in a splint for the remainder of his recovery time. He is having a very hard time dealing with the injury too, which is understandable. He spent the summer working his ass off in hopes of having a very successful and consistent season, excited to make a difference on one of the best teams in NBA history.
Instead, he now has to sit on the sidelines watching...and waiting. One thing is for sure; Miller will be very hungry to get back out there once the calendar flips over to 2011. In the meantime though, the Heat are weighing their options to replace the swingman and outside shooting specialist.
Right now the guy who is in the spotlight to replace Miller is Jerry Stackhouse. The 16-year NBA veteran has been saying all summer that he would love to join the Heat in their hunt for a championship, the most public of those messages coming on NBA TV. In 896 career games, Stackhouse has averaged 18.0 points on 40.1% shooting, 3.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists.
He's also a 30.7% shooter from 3-point range and hits 82.1% from the free throw line. It seems he would be a good fit in Miami considering their sudden roster opening. Stackhouse is known for his great conditioning and hard work ethic, the kind of traits that Pat Riley and Coach Spoelstra love.
ESPN reported that Stackhouse worked out for the Heat on Thursday while the team was still in Atlanta. Then Friday night at 10pm he was on a flight from Atlanta to Miami. I'm sure we'll get more information on Saturday because right now it seems that the Heat are seriously considering adding Stackhouse to the mix.
Miami can only offer him the vet minimum of $1.4 million because they are over the salary cap, but it's not about the money at this point of Stack's career. The 35-year old just wants to win an NBA title before he retires. He's played in 71 career playoff games but only reached the Finals once, back in 2006 when he was playing for the Dallas Mavericks.
In case your wondering how all this will affect the roster, should Miami sign Stackhouse then they'll have to cut two guys that are currently on the roster instead of one. They are at 16 right now, Stack would make 17. Even though Miller is hurt, he still would count towards the 15 the same way Da'Sean Butler does.
So if the Heat wants to keep Butler and test out his possible massive upside, they'll have to cut loose Patrick Beverely AND Jamaal Magloire instead of choosing between the two. But lets not get too far ahead of ourselves just yet. We'll see what happens with Stackhouse over the weekend and go from there...but no matter what, Miami (and the rest of the NBA) has to trim their roster to 15 by Monday.