MIAMI – Heat forward Mike Miller is not on Miami's final preseason road trip, remaining home because of an injury to his shooting hand that could sideline one of the NBA's top 3-point shooters for several weeks.
Miller appeared to injure his right thumb in practice on Wednesday, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press Thursday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Heat have neither fully diagnosed nor announced the severity of Miller's injury.
Miami was holding a shootaround practice in Atlanta on Thursday morning, after which Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was expected to address the Miller situation. The Heat close the exhibition season in Tampa, Fla. on Friday against Orlando, then open the regular season Tuesday in Boston.
Miller signed a $25 million, five-year contract with Miami this summer. He has been starting during much of the preseason for Dwyane Wade, who is recovering from a strained right hamstring, and now becomes the latest name in a long list of Heat injury woes.
Guard Eddie House is scheduled to make his preseason debut Thursday night after continuing to recover from surgery on his left, non-shooting, shoulder. Point guards Mario Chalmers and Carlos Arroyo have had nagging injuries throughout the preseason, and rookie hopeful Da'Sean Butler is still coming back off a torn knee ligament.
Spoelstra said after practice Wednesday that the team, which currently has 16 players on the roster and needs to get it down to 15 by Monday night, would try to keep perimeter help because of injury concerns.
Miller 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.