Miles returns for a workout

Dillman is a Times staff writer.

The Great Clipper Experiment of 2008-09 continued this week with a new development involving an old player.

Former Clippers forward Darius Miles worked out for the team on a scheduled off day Tuesday, one day after the Clippers dropped to 4-17, faltering in the fourth quarter against Orlando.

"We have an extra roster spot," Clippers Coach and General Manager Mike Dunleavy said Wednesday. "He is starting to work out for teams. And so, we're just looking into the situation."

Based on what they have seen and what they need, the woefully lacking-in-depth Clippers would jump at signing the 6-foot-9 free agent Miles, who was close to making the Celtics in training camp. The thought is that Boston wanted to keep Miles, 27, but a roster spot simply wasn't available.

Still, with Miles, there are issues.

Miles, who was the third overall pick by the Clippers in the 2000 draft, had micro-fracture surgery to fix his right knee in November 2006. Miles has not played in a regular-season game since then. He also had a well-known confrontation with then-coach Maurice Cheeks in Portland in the 2004-05 season.

Another likely point of contention for the Clippers, and for any NBA team wanting to sign Miles, would be his automatic 10-game suspension for having violated the league's substance abuse policy.

Already, the Clippers don't have a lot of flexibility because of the extended absences of center Chris Kaman and swingman Ricky Davis. Kaman (strained left arch) said he thought he might be out until Christmas, but the healing process of his foot could be speedier.

"Maybe a little bit before, maybe a little bit after Christmas," Kaman said. "It's just a slow-healing thing. Obviously, I've got to wait till it's healthy. I don't want to come back early and keep dealing with this all year. I'm not going to rush into it.

"I've got to stick this out, just wait. I'll probably be a little bit out of shape when I come back."

Dunleavy thought Davis (knee tendinitis) would not be back until possibly after Christmas.

But the possibility of what Miles could do for the Clippers after being out of the NBA for just more than two years intrigued them enough to bring him in for a workout.

The Trail Blazers have to be squirming a bit with Miles working out for teams again. It has been reported that Miles' $9-million salary for this season goes back on Portland's books if he signs a deal and plays in 10 or more NBA games.


Marcus Camby and Zach Randolph were on hand but did not practice Wednesday; both were given rest days. Although Randolph hardly rested, as he was being pulled and stretched in to all sorts of interesting yoga positions.


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