Grizzlies activate Miles; Francis inactive

Updated: January 4, 2009, 11:23 PM ET
Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Steve Francis and Darius Miles, both obtained by Memphis last month, finally gave a veteran look to the young Grizzlies before Sunday's 102-82 win against Dallas.

Miles was on the active roster, but Francis, who didn't arrive in Memphis until Saturday and only went through a short practice, was on the inactive list.

Miles, who was drafted third overall out of high school by the Los Angeles Clippers in 2000, is returning from a two-year layoff because of microfracture knee surgery. Francis has not played since Dec. 15, 2007, and underwent right knee surgery last February.

Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni said before Sunday's game that he is unsure what the two will bring to his team, especially in the short term.

"It's definitely something that has to be addressed," Iavaroni said. "Darius has made progress, but extended periods of time, full court basketball, I don't think he's there yet.

"I haven't seen Steve practice [much]. We had a little practice [Saturday]. He participated more on what Dallas does offensively. We have to see what he does in full court scrimmaging. He's very motivated. We just have to see if he's [game] ready."

Francis, a 6-foot-3 guard in his 10th season out of Maryland, was the No. 2 overall pick in 1999 and eventually became a three-time All-Star.

Some missed flights and family matters delayed his arrival until Saturday. He was not immediately available for comment before Sunday's game.

Miles, signed as a free agent on Dec. 13, has been practicing with the team while serving a 10-game suspension for violation of the league's drug policy. The 6-foot-9 forward went through preseason training camp with the Boston Celtics but was cut before the start of the season.

He said his suspension was frustrating, but it gave him an opportunity to learn more about his new teammates. Miles thinks one of his roles will be to bring experience to a locker room where eight of the 14 players are 23 years old or younger, including leading scorers O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay.

"I've been in the league nine years. I've seen a lot, and I've experienced a lot -- the ups and downs," the 27-year-old Miles said. "I think we've got two young players in Rudy and O.J. who need to learn how to be a leader.

"They're going to be the leaders of this team. I don't need to come to this team and try to be a leader. I can just give them my opinion on experience and stuff like that."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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