Should Miller have returned to play?

By Michael Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 6, 2009

Blog excerpt from

There were a number of troubling developments from the Washington Wizards' loss to the Miami Heat on Wednesday night, but the most glaring was the sight of Mike Miller cringing and grimacing as he sprinted off the floor with a left shoulder injury. Miller is the third starter to go down with an injury, and he is expected to miss the next seven to 10 days.

But did it have to come to that? Miller proved he is one tough dude when he suffered a mild left shoulder sprain early in the third quarter and returned to play about seven more minutes. Miller was injured when he attempted to run through a screen. His arm immediately went limp but he played for a few seconds before Flip Saunders sent DeShawn Stevenson in.

Miller groaned and grimaced as head athletic trainer tried to work with his left arm. He later ran to the tunnel and his night likely should've been over.

"It went numb, but I thought I could come back," Miller said after the game.

When Miller returned to the bench, Saunders received word from the team medical staff that he was good to go. "They said he thought he felt pretty good, give him a shot to let him go," Saunders said. "I put him in to see how he was doing. At the time we put him back in, the team was playing good and he was playing good. but when he went down again, I said, 'That's enough.' "

Miller went down in the worst possible fashion. But even before he made that left-handed layup and crashed on his left shoulder after a collision with Miami's Joel Anthony, there was a huge hint that it probably wasn't the best idea to have him on the floor at that point. Miller palmed a rebound with his right hand and didn't bother lifting his left arm. That's not good. After falling on his shoulder, Miller was doubled over and attempted to play defense with his left arm pressed against his body.

"It was hurting, I'm sure the kind of fall he took, it didn't help," Saunders said. "I thought he was pretty good with one arm, to be honest."

Miller made plays, but at what cost?

Asked after the game why he even came out, Miller made it sound like he was disappointed that the Wizards' medical staff kept him from going back in after he aggravated the injury. "I don't like to sit out," Miller said. "It's early in the season. If it had been late in the season, I would've tried to keep going and sometimes you got to listen to [the medical staff]. I feel pain, but I'll be all right. Not where I wanted it to be. I hope I can be a quick healer and we'll see what happens."

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