January 29, 2013

Miller will play without practicing the remainder of the season

Shooting the basketball is all about repetition. Getting into a rhythm.

Unfortunately for Florida State junior guard Ian Miller, he'll only have two days a week to find that rhythm for the rest of the season.

Maryland vs. Florida State

When: Wednesday 8:00 p.m. ET, ACC Network

Records: FSU 11-8, 3-3 ACC

Maryland 15-5, 3-4 ACC

Where: Donald L. Tucker Center, Tallahassee, Fla.

Series: Maryland leads 29-12

The Charlotte, N.C. native has been dealing with a bone bruise in his right foot for the majority of the season, and in an effort to avoid the foot from swelling after becoming inflamed, Miller will not practice the rest of the season.

Florida State (11-8, 3-3 ACC) will play host to Maryland (15-5, 3-4 ACC) at 8 p.m. ET in the Donald L. Tucker Center. It will be the second straight game that Miller will see action in, despite not taking part of any full-speed drills in practice.

"The less pressure I put on it the better," Miler said. "I might do some light shooting, maybe standstill shooting, some passing drills, but other than that I'm on the bike."

The injury has already cost Miller to miss five games this season, including most of the month of December. He returned to action in January just in time for ACC-play.

Miller was attempting to practice in a limited role, for just 15-20 minutes per day., when he initially returned. But the time on the practice court was doing more harm than good. So head coach Leonard Hamilton made the decision to no longer allow Miller to participate in practices.

"What we decided was to take that stress out of the equation, and hopefully that two or three days rest will calm the inflammation down enough to where when he gets in the game it's a little more tolerable than trying to go 20 minutes here and 20 minutes there," Hamilton said. "I let him shoot some standing jump shots and run through the game preparation, but that's going to be the extent of what he's allowed to do for the remainder of the year."

In his first game without any practice the results were good. In a 71-47 loss to Miami on Sunday, Miller scored 12 points, pulled down four rebounds and had a pair of assists in 19 minutes. In the previous game against Clemson, Miller was only able to play seven minutes before his foot became too bothersome to continue.

Sunday was just the third time this season that Miller has scored in double figures. Miller has had to adjust his shot from using mostly his legs to using more of his arms with an injured foot. He said he now feels comfortable with his new motion.

With his shot not fully in rhythm, Miller knows when he's on the court, it's less about him scoring and more about creating shots for his teammates.

"My job when I go into the game is to get into the paint and set people up and get them shots I know they can hit, or drive real hard and make their man collapse so they can drive and get a bucket," said Miller.

While the scenario of Miller playing in games without practicing isn't ideal, Hamilton insists that a limited Miller on gameday is better than no Miller at all.

"To be going into a game and not lose your rhythm and timing, your instincts, it's not really the best of scenarios, but it's the best we've got right now," Hamilton said. "We'd rather have him a little bit full speed, than not to have him at all."

As for Miller, shutting things down for the remainder of the season was never really an option. As long as he feels he can contribute to the team he'll continue to lace up his extra-padded sneakers and give all he's got.

"I'm dealing with it," he said. "I just think people know how tough I am by playing through, because a lot of people- this pain, it's not a joke- it's painful. It's like somebody is just cutting every time you bounce up and down. So I'm just trying to stick it out for the season. If we can get a run right here in the heart of the season so we can make a run for this tournament."

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