Miami's Mike Miller has thumb injury

Updated: October 22, 2010, 6:38 PM ET
By Brian Windhorst | ESPN.com

ATLANTA -- The severity of Miami Heat guard Mike Miller's thumb injury isn't public but conclusions could be drawn by the mood in the locker room.

The Heat did not announce the findings from an MRI Miller received Thursday on his right hand. But the team is bracing itself to be without its best shooter for an extended period, several weeks at least.

Miller was hurt Wednesday during practice in what coach Erik Spoestra called a "freak thing" when Miller got his shooting hand caught in a teammate's jersey during a drill.

Miller
Miller

"I talked to him; he's down, of course," LeBron James said before the Heat's 98-89 loss to the Hawks in a preseason game.

"It is an exciting season for him. When you work out a lot in the offseason to get ready for the regular season and you have a freak accident like that -- he's down."

Heat president Pat Riley flew to Atlanta Thursday morning to meet with Spoelstra and other team officials about options on dealing with the injury. Spoelstra did not rule out signing an additional player to fill in for Miller, who signed a five-year, $25 million deal over the summer.

"His versatility is one of the major reasons we signed him," Spoelstra said. "But we have two other very dynamic playmakers. We still have a strong balance in our roster."

The Heat don't have much roster flexibility so they would likely have to consider signing a free agent.

The team did get a boost with the return of Eddie House, who played his first game after recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. House scored nine points, making all three of his 3-point attempts. Guard Mario Chalmers also returned after missing time with an ankle injury but was 1-of-8 shooting.

More importantly, Dwyane Wade wrapped up his legal responsibilities in his children's custody case. He was scheduled to rejoin the team Friday in Tampa. Spoelstra said Wade "would likely" not play when the Heat wrap up their preseason against the Orlando Magic.

But Wade has been given full clearance to practice after recovering from a hamstring injury. If he doesn't have any setbacks after practices Sunday and Monday, he will likely be ready to go for the season opener Tuesday in Boston.

Brian Windhorst is an ESPN.com NBA writer.