MILWAUKEE: C.J. Miles won’t officially concede that his season is over, but deep inside he knows it’s true.
“I don’t really have that much time,” he said. “But we knew that two weeks ago.”
Miles’ season effectively ended Feb. 19 when he severely sprained his ankle in a victory against the Orlando Magic. He has played a total of two minutes since then, spending the rest of the last seven weeks rehabbing and trying to return to the court. Now he’s about out of time.
Miles missed Friday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks, and now the Cavs conclude the season with home games against the Boston Celtics today and the season finale against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday. With the Cavs already eliminated from the postseason, Miles said it’s foolish to rush back for the finale and risk further injury, particularly since he’s a free agent this summer and will be searching for a new contract.
Miles understands why people have a hard time comprehending why a sprained ankle has forced him to miss nearly two months, but it’s more complicated than a typical sprain. He had an exorbitant amount of swelling — and the pictures to prove it — for nearly a month.
His two minutes on the floor at the end of the West Coast trip last month only reaggravated it because he wasn’t really ready to return. The team shut him down completely for a week after that failed attempt.
Miles said the bruising around the ankle has slowed his return. His aggressive rehab worsened the bruising, he said, because he was pushing it three or four days ahead of schedule.
“I’ve got a certain amount of time before it fatigues because it’s not strong enough yet,” Miles said. “Now that the swelling is down, I’m getting the motion back. But I don’t have the strength to do what I need to do on a basketball court, especially as a guy who moves around a lot. It’s not like I’m standing around. I wouldn’t be able to help my team unless they told me to just stand in the corner all the time and play four-on-five.”
Miles’ injury occurred at a bad time because this is a contract year for him.
His 3-point percentage declined in each of his final five seasons in Utah, but he re-established himself as a consistent 3-point shooter in Cleveland. He made a career-high 126 3-pointers last season and will finish this season shooting a career-best .393 from deep.
He is open to returning next season, but hasn’t had any formal talks yet and doesn’t believe the injury will affect summer negotiations with the Cavs or any other team.
“I didn’t break something or tear something. It just took time [to heal],” Miles said. “I’ll be perfectly fine by the time I had to go take a physical.
“We haven’t had any conversations [about returning], but I don’t feel like they’re kicking me out the door at all. I know what that feels like. I definitely don’t get that vibe.”
While he doesn’t seem to be gaining much traction around the league, Cavs coach Mike Brown believes Dion Waiters should be a viable candidate for Sixth Man of the Year voting.
Although he’s back in the starting lineup, Waiters remains the leading scorer among Eastern Conference reserves at 14.7 points in a bench role. He is averaging more points off the bench than any Cavs player since Hot Rod Williams averaged 16.9 in 1989-90.
“He should deserve some credit, some recognition for Sixth Man of the Year,” Brown said. “He was giving us a big lift coming off the bench. He could be effective in a lot of different roles for a team. Obviously, he’s been effective for us as a starter, but he was huge for us coming off the bench throughout the course of the season so hopefully he’ll get recognition for it.”
While nothing has been made official yet, Brown said the Cavs would like rookies Anthony Bennett, Sergey Karasev, Carrick Felix and Matthew Dellavedova, along with newly signed Scottie Hopson to all participate on the summer league team this year.
“I think it’s good for first-and second-year guys to go and play and get that type of experience,” Brown said.
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.