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Mike Miller playing through physical, emotional pain

Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat - Game Four

MIAMI, FL - MAY 24: Mike Miller #13 of the Miami Heat looks on against the Chicago Bulls in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 24, 2011 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

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Mike Miller is going to be a big key for the Miami Heat come the NBA finals. Even in trying to close out the Chicago Bulls in Game 5 Thursday night.

But it’s not going to be easy for him, physically or emotionally.

Physically, Miller is playing through a ruptured tendon in his left thumb, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said at practice on Wednesday. This is exactly what he did to his right thumb in training camp and why he missed the first three months of the season. That he is playing at all is impressive, and this explains his at times up and down play. That said, he had a big Game 4 for the Heat and they need more of that.

On a personal note, Miller is playing through a difficult personal issue as well, reports Tom Haberstroh of ESPN.

His wife gave birth to a baby girl last Thursday in a South Florida hospital, but the newborn daughter has remained in the intensive care unit with an undisclosed health issue. Miller left with the team on Wednesday to travel to Chicago.

Our thoughts are with him and his family.

But it’s not going to get any easier, the role the Heat will ask Miller to play is only going to grow with each game.