Mike Miller hurt guarding LeBron James

MIAMI -- Defending LeBron James is not an easy task.

Teammate Mike Miller learned that the hard way.

While defending James in the post last week in practice, Miller got his hand stuck in James' jersey and broke the thumb on his shooting hand.

"I heard a pop," said Miller, who was at practice Sunday for the first time since the injury. "I knew from the beginning it wasn't a good thing."

Miller had surgery Friday to repair a torn ligament and his fractured thumb. He is expected to be out at least until January.

He tried to convince Heat coach Erik Spoelstra that he could play through the injury without surgery.

"I felt like if we wrapped it up and splinted it, it would be all right, but obviously we have to listen to the doctors and they forced me to have the surgery, which down the road will probably be a good thing," Miller said. "Right now it doesn't feel like it, but it is what it is now, I have to make the most of it."

Miller signed with Miami in the offseason after averaging 10.9 points in 54 games with Washington last season. The 11-year veteran has been to the playoffs five times in his career, never advancing past the first round.

"It's about as frustrating as it gets," the 30-year-old Miller said. "I've basically been waiting my whole career for an opportunity like this and it kind of starts off on a sour note, but it's a long season."

With Miller out, the Heat signed veteran swingman Jerry Stackhouse to a nonguaranteed contract fill in.

"I'm glad to be here, obviously a lot of people have made [a big deal] about that it's a nonguaranteed contract, but I would have told him I probably would have came for free if he asked me, I'm just glad he didn't," Stackhouse said.

Stackhouse, a two-time All-Star with over 16,000 career points in 16 years in the league, is expected to provide scoring off the bench.

"He's not really coming in to facilitate, he's coming in to put the ball up," guard Dwyane Wade said.

Stackhouse, who was working out in Atlanta during the offseason with former NBA players Anthony Johnson and Joey Dorsey, participated in his first practice with the Heat on Sunday with the season opener at Boston on Tuesday.

"Fortunately I've been in situations where teams have had high expectations so that approach I'm used to and accustomed to," Stackhouse said. "When you see LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in person going as hard as they do on a day-to-day basis, everybody just kind of picks up their intensity and energy and it makes for a good practice."

Wade joked on his Twitter account about not bringing up the Heat's 2006 NBA championship victory over Stackhouse and the Dallas Mavericks, but didn't say anything to him when he joined the team.

"He didn't have to, as soon as I walked into the locker room I had all of the visions of '06 that I needed to see," said Stackhouse, who is pictured six times in the championship alley hallway leading to the locker room. "Hopefully, I can change some of those pictures this year around or we can add some more and at least take down the ones with me in there in the Dallas uniform."

With the addition of Stackhouse to the roster, the Heat will have to cut two players before Monday night's deadline.