Utah Jazz: C.J. Miles takes injury, coach's comments in stride
Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — When it comes to NBA guys, C.J. Miles is about as happy-go-lucky as any player in the league.
Laughs and smiles a lot. Stays positive. Hopes for the best.
Despite a rough weekend — during which his shooting hand got hurt, and his ego easily could've been — the 23-year-old is maintaining his upbeat attitude.
Not even a sprained wrist nor a public reprimand from his coach could change that.
Physically, Miles was feeling "fine" at practice Monday, although he was limited to non-contact participation for precautionary purposes.
"It doesn't hurt," he said of the wrist that was wrapped and protected by a brace. "Doesn't feel bad."
Miles' wrist throbbed Saturday night, even hampered his sleep a bit, hours after he jammed it while bracing himself during a fall early in the team's scrimmage. His wrist was sore and still swollen Sunday when he received treatment on the Jazz's off day.
But because X-rays came back negative and revealed no structural damage, the swingman was relieved that he only had to allow the swelling to go down before resuming his preseason training.
Miles is confident he's progressing and hopes to practice without restrictions today.
"I'm not going to sit out," Miles said. "I'm not going to miss any time for this. Knowing that there's nothing wrong with it helped out a lot."
Mentally, Miles maintained a bright outlook, even in light of what his boss said about him over the weekend.
Jazz coach Jerry Sloan offered a blunt assessment when asked if Miles' injury might hurt the player's rhythm.
"Right now, he hasn't been in his rhythm like you'd expect him to be," Sloan said Saturday.
Sloan also told reporters that he'd had a chat with Miles on Friday. His message to Miles: "He's got to work harder and not get in a casual approach to the game. He's got to compete to get better."
Miles is taking his coach's counsel in stride. He acknowledged the conversation with Sloan. He especially agreed with how his coach told him to, "Just relax."
Sloan also advised Miles to, "Just find a rhythm and not put too much pressure on (myself) to do certain things, to just try to play. Basically that's what I did the second half last year — just play."
Sounds good to Miles, who added 12 pounds of muscle to his 6-foot-6 frame in hopes of becoming an even more aggressive player. Entering his sixth NBA season in Utah, there is an element of pressure on Miles to have a breakout season as well.
Though Miles said he's shot well in practices this fall, he is looking to get into the groove he was in during last year's NBA playoffs, when he averaged 14.4 points and actively contributed overall.
"(Sloan) just wants to see me do those things," Miles said. "(He said) I'll be fine once I find it, which is true. I just need to find a rhythm and just play."
Miles previously pointed out that it's been challenging with the number of new guys in camp trying to learn the system. Plus, he was complicating things up in game-type situations at practice.
"I think there was a lot of thinking going on instead of just playing and reacting," he said. "It'll come."
Raja Bell called it a "best-case scenario" to have a healthy Miles back quickly — that's how much the veteran shooting guard values his presence on the court.
"We need him," Bell said while acknowledging others might get opportunities in his absence.
"He's been in this offense," Bell added. "He's a big part of what we do."
azz preseason opener
Portland at Utah
Thursday, 7 p.m.
TV: 1320 AM, 98.7 FM Heady
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