On Sports • Blazers face decision when Darius Miles returns
by: KYLE GREEN, The Blazers aren’t the same team they were when Darius Miles’ knee injury took him out of the game. How would he fit in now?

Darius Miles says he's ready to go. The big question, though, is where is he going? On the floor in a Trail Blazer uniform or out the door?

And I'm kind of curious what Blazer fans think about the whole situation. Miles has been a forgotten man as he's gone through the rehab after knee surgery. He's been out of sight and out of mind -while Portland has fallen back in love with its basketball team.

So I'm asking you today, what should the Blazers do with Miles when he's ready to play?

But first, let me help a little by presenting the extremes on both sides of this question.

Why Miles should play

People seem to forget how good he can be when he's healthy and focused - there was a reason Portland gave him that generous contract a couple of seasons ago.

Until the knee injury that kept him out of last season, Miles had been a very durable player who combined quickness, leaping ability and a talent for finishing around the basket.

He is a slashing small forward who will get rebounds, block a shot once in a while and supply quickness on defense.

He can do a lot of things - the man once scored 47 points in a game for the Blazers.

For a team in Portland's position, suddenly finding itself in the midst of a chase for a playoff spot, Miles could be buried treasure. He's an available player to add to the mix who doesn't cost the Blazers anything above his paycheck, which they're paying whether he plays or not.

Doesn't it at least make sense to see if he can fit into the existing structure? If he can become a contributor, even for short minutes, does it make sense to let him go? Especially now, when the team doesn't want to use any of its young players as trade chips to acquire the kind of veteran player who could help the playoff push?

Why Miles should go

The closest this guy has ever been to the playoffs is however far his remote control unit works from his TV set.

He's not going to provide leadership - unless it's of the negative sort - and he's probably not going to fit well with these players.

You want to mess with this team's chemistry? Didn't think so.

He's an overrated player even when he's healthy, and after missing an entire season it isn't likely he'd be at his best in the second half of this year.

Not only that, but whose minutes are you going to steal? You want to sit down Martell Webster? James Jones? Travis Outlaw?

So there you have it - both sides of the argument.

It's voting season, anyway, so cast your ballot online or by mail (see above).

We'll give you the results next week.

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