Miller to return this week
Mike Miller practiced on Monday, his third practice in the past four days, but Coach Flip Saunders said that "at best, it's 50-50" that Miller will play against the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday. The Wizards want to be cautious with Miller, who has missed the past 19 games with a strained right calf. Miller has also been recovering from a strained left shoulder.
"There is no question, he'll play Friday against Orlando," Saunders said. "We don't to want to have him where he plays, especially where we have a back-to-back. We'd like to get him in a rhythm, and not in a situation where he has to sit out. Cleveland might be a possibility."
When Miller returns, Saunders said that he wouldn't immediately be inserted into the starting lineup, which has changed several times since Miller injured himself against in San Antonio on Nov. 21. Caron Butler is the latest player to start at shooting guard, making the switch from small forward.
"I don't know if we'll rush him back into the starters' position," Saunders said. "It's a different situation bringing someone back from a calf strain situation. Fatigue can put you in a position where you can re-injure that. We don't him to regress."
Miller said he would take his time with his return as well, but is excited to be back on the floor with his teammates.
"It feels good," Miller said of his return to practice. "Six weeks is a long time. It's about 5½ weeks longer than I ever sat out. It's tough for me. But it's one of those things, you got to rest it."
He added that the calf injury has actually allowed his left shoulder to heal properly. "Still protecting it, but I'm still working on it, so it's good," he said. "That's the best thing about it."
As Miller spoke, Andray Blatche interrupted him, "It's nice to have him back out there, man. Hits some open shots, some good passes. I missed you, man. Welcome back."
Saunders added that Millers's presence has been missed, with the Wizards going 7-12 without him. "When we traded for him, we said he had the ability to make other guys better. Without him, we haven't had that," he said. "No question, he could be a huge part and help jumpstart us."
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