SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Houston center Brad Miller revealed on Saturday that he had microfracture surgery on his left knee in mid-May and expects to be out of action for at least six months.
Speaking while on crutches to a crowd of approximately 6,000 Sacramento fans at Power Balance Pavilion, the former Kings big man mentioned the medical news that had not been public knowledge to that point. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on the knee last summer and missed 22 games because of the knee this season. Miller had returned to play the final four games, but said he questioned whether he could make it through another season if he didn't do the procedure.
But given his age (35) and miles logged in the league (13 seasons), the idea that he will return at all can't be considered a certainty.
"After getting it scoped [arthroscopic surgery] last summer, I just had issues with it again this year, so I saw another doctor, and two doctors said it would be the best thing to do," Miller said.
The infamous microfracture procedure is always a major threat to a player's leaping ability, speed and longevity. That was the case for Miller's former teammate in Sacramento, forward Chris Webber, whose career was never the same after he had the surgery in 2003.
Yet as Miller joked, his situation is quite different. The veteran who went undrafted out of Purdue has long been known as one of the league's least-athletic and slowest players, making the most of his basketball IQ, passing ability and offensive versatility.
"I ain't got much vertical to get back [and] it's really not going to slow me down," he said. "[The doctors] said, 'You're the ideal candidate for this. A non-jumping, slow white guy. You shouldn't really lose much.' No explosiveness is going to be lost here."
It doesn't sound as if longevity is much of a factor, either, as Miller has one year worth $4.7 million (plus a final year worth less than $1 million guaranteed) remaining on his deal with the Rockets and is noncommittal on the idea of playing any longer. He averaged just 6.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 17 minutes per game last season, having signed with Houston as backup to Yao Ming.
"I'll play next year, and see how I feel after that," he said. "That's as far as I'm thinking right now."
Miller will be taking directions from a new coach once he returns, as Rick Adelman and the Rockets parted ways in mid-April and Kevin McHale was hired last week.
"I've been playing phone tag with [McHale]," Miller said. "From what I heard, he's a great person, and everybody knows he was a great player. I just want to see what kind of coaching style he has, and just figure him out."
Miller knew Adelman as well as anyone, having played under him in Sacramento for six seasons, and said he wasn't surprised by the change.
"Not really [surprised], after being there," he said. "If I wasn't there all year, then I would've been surprised. But after being there, I wasn't too surprised. Disappointed, but wasn't too surprised ... It is what it is."
While Miller isn't ready to retire just yet, he discussed a former foe who hung up his jersey this week: Shaquille O' Neal, who famously swung and missed at Miller during a fight in 2002 and nearly leveled him in a game between the Lakers and Chicago.
"I can remember many ice packs after playing Shaq, telling our coach, 'I ain't got nothing for you' the next day," Miller said. "He took your full effort, amount of energy, and you had to be ready to take some blows for sure."
Had O'Neal connected with his forceful swing, Miller quipped that his rehabilitation would have been far more arduous than the one he will have to go through now.
"I would've probably had a lot more [money] in my bank account and not have to do anything," he said. "I might have been eating out of a spoon, or a straw, but I would've had more in my account because I couldn't go nowhere."