Since joining the Miami Heat before last season, swingman Mike Miller has had to deal with one injury after another. He didn't even get to start this season on time, undergoing hernia surgery in the offseason. Since returning from the hernia issue, it seemed that Miller may have finally figured out how to avoid the injury bug, but unfortunately that wasn't the case on Saturday night.
In the first half of Miami's overtime win over the Indiana Pacers, Miller sprained his left ankle after landing awkwardly on Chris Bosh's foot. Miller didn't return to the game, but x-rays taken at the arena came back negative so at least we knew it wasn't anything too serious. Still, the Heat were hoping to have an idea on Sunday of how long he would be sidelined, but they'll have to wait at least one more day.
Coach Erik Spoelstra said on Sunday that he was unsure if Miller would be able to play in the upcoming week. The Heat have three very tough games this week, hitting the road to face the Orlando Magic on Tuesday, the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday and the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday.
If Miller is unable to go, expect the Heat to turn to James Jones in his place. Jones isn't as good of a defender or rebounder as Miller, but the one area they are very similar is shooting the ball. Both are knockdown shooters from 3-point range, and against the opponents the Heat have coming up this week, there are sure to be times that Miami will need as many scoring threats on the floor as they can throw out there.
For Miller, this is just the latest injury of several that he suffered during his short tenure with the Miami Heat. It started before he ever played a game for the Heat, sustaining ligament damage in his left thumb, which kept him out of the entire first half of last season. After returning, he would later injure his right thumb as well, causing him to play out the season with both of his thumbs wrapped for every game.
He still was able to hit some big shots, but wasn't quite himself, which is understandable considering his bread and butter is his shooting ability, and it cant be easy for a natural shooter like Miller to have to take shots with both of his thumbs wrapped up in medical tape and padding.
He also had to deal with concussion symptoms throughout the second half of the season, which at times limited his practice availability. Despite dealing with all these injuries, none compared to the stress he endured during the Eastern Conference Finals and NBA Finals. In the previous fall, Miller and his wife Jennifer found out they were expecting their third child, and their first girl.
After returning from Chicago after Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Miller went straight to the hospital where they induced Jennifer around 4:30am. Soon after, the Miller's welcomed their new baby girl Jaelyn into the world. Unfortunately, that's where the real stress began. When Jaelyn came out, the umbilical cord was wrapped so tightly around her neck that she wasn't receiving blood and could barely breathe.
As if that wasn't bad enough, they also found that Jaelyn had five holes in her heart, with one so big that it may have required doctors to crack open her chest to perform surgery. Thankfully, the baby's condition stabilized and surgery wasn't required, but she had to remain in the intensive care unit for another ten days.
Miller continued to play his hardest for the Heat, helping them get to the NBA Finals by drilling shots from all over the court against the Bulls. He would later say that the entire series is just a blur. He would miss practices in order to sit by his baby girls side in the hospital, but would play in every game, immediately afterwards returning to the hospital.
He was seen playing in games while still wearing his hospital bracelet, but after a couple of the hardest weeks in his life, Miller finally received some good news. Jaelyn was in good shape and able to be taken home. The season would end soon after, closing off what was probably the hardest, most taxing year of his life.
Needless to say, it hasn't been easy for Mike since signing with the Heat, but he hasn't let anything weaken his resolve. Miller is one of the hardest workers on the team, and every time the injury bug shows its ugly head, I have to cringe. At this point all we can do is hope that this latest ankle injury doesn't keep him sidelined for too long. After everything he's been through in the past couple years, the guy deserves a break...doesn't he?