Last Summer, former Kentucky Wildcats forward Darius Miller suffered an Achilles tear that forced him to sit out. Due to the injury, Miller hasn’t played in an NBA game since the 2018-19 season and wasn’t expected to be playing at all in 2019-2020.
Miller signed a 2-year $14 million extension with the New Orleans Pelicans roughly a month before he suffered the injury.
On Friday, Miller spoke with the media for the first time since he suffered the injury. With the NBA planning to return to action on July 30th, it is still unclear if Miller will be joining the rest of the Pelicans in Orlando as he is taking his rehab “day-by-day.”
“Right now I’m just taking it day-by-day,” Miller said Friday. “Trying to add something new into my workouts and see how my body reacts. Like I said, it’s unfortunate I can’t play five-on-five or at least three-on-three just to get a gauge, but we’re doing the most that we can right now to see about when I’ll be able to play.”
Darius Miller says he's unsure if he'll be ready to play in Orlando. Hasn't been able to play any 3-on-3 or 5-on-5 bc of COVID-19.— Will Guillory (@WillGuillory) July 3, 2020
I doubt we'll see him playing if he can't ramp up his activity really quickly.
Also, on Friday, the Pelicans’ Twitter page tweeted out a video of Miller shooting around in the gym with the caption “back in the lab.”
The Pelicans are one of the teams on the outside looking in when the NBA restarts in Orlando and will have to be within four games of the 8-seed in order to qualify for a play-in round.
While Miller hasn’t given a specific yes or no answer to if he will be playing in Orlando, the former Cat has made it clear that if he is able to play, he will be playing.
“If I’m able to [play], I am, that’s just the way that it is. I haven’t been able to test a lot, like I said, but as we ramp up more I’ll be able to see, and I think [the team] will put me in a good position to know if I’m ready to go or not.”
Miller is about to be entering the final year of his contract which means that his performance in 2020-21 is going to be crucial for his pro career going forward. With that being said, Miller’s long-term health is a lot more important at this point and sitting out the restart and rehabbing for the 2020-21 season seems like the smart move.