Transcript: Pelicans forward Darius Miller media availability - July 3, 2020

On his health status over the last few months:
“It’s hard to tell because I haven’t been able to get on the court much with the virus going on. I’ve really been trying to strengthen my legs, getting in decent shape, as much as I can without being able to play basketball, so right now I’m just trying to push myself as much as I can on the court to see where I’m at.”

On if it will still be some time before he’s able to do basketball drills on the court:
“No, I’m able to do some stuff now. Every day is pretty much new. Like I said, I still haven’t gotten a chance to play against anybody, we’re still not allowed to do that yet, but I’m pushing myself. I’m trying to do new basketball movements and see how [the Achilles] reacts to that, so I wouldn’t say it’s a long time until I’m back out on the court. I’m back on the court, I just need to see how far I can go right now.”

On the possibility of him playing in Orlando:
“Like I said, right now I’m just taking it day-by-day, trying to add something new into my workouts and see how my body reacts. Like I said, it’s unfortunate I can’t play five-on-five or at least three-on-three just to get a gauge, but we’re doing the most that we can right now to see about when I’ll be able to play.”

On his feelings about the chance he could play this season after suffering an Achilles injury:
“I stayed in the city while all this was going on, just to be able to use as many resources as I could during this time, just because, like you said, there could be a chance that I could come back and play. I’ve been focused on that pretty much the entire time we have been in quarantine and still trying to do that to this day. Like I said, just trying to see where I’m at.”

On if he is more eager to try to make a return this season given the recent play of the team:
“That added to it. I already felt that way. This team is an exciting team to watch. I’ve been able to be around them pretty much the whole season. Great chemistry, talented group, so of course I’ve been missing that, trying to be a part of helping the team any way that I could.”

On his impressions of Zion Williamson’s rookie season and his preparation for the return-to-play:
“Honestly I haven’t been able to see much of him or any of my teammates, really. From what I have seen, he looks to be in incredible shape. He’s a guy that likes to work hard, so I’m sure he’s been putting the work in during this quarantine, and there’s not much I can say about the games he’s had during the season. We all saw it – the way that he dominated, the way that he played. As a rookie that young, to have a great feel for the game, the way that he sacrifices for his teammates, he’s just a great player. We all know that.”

On if he had access to the practice facility during the quarantine as an injured player, and the role that played in his rehab:
“I was able to do that a little bit, but I spent a lot of time with (trainer) Mike (Guevara), and we did a lot of stuff outdoors at parks, at my house, just working out. I think the combination did a great job of helping me stay ready, as ready as I could be, without playing basketball.”

On if he has gotten advice from players that have also suffered an Achilles tendon rupture:
“A little bit. I talked to DeMarcus (Cousins) a little bit, and I reached out to a couple other guys. It seems like every guy’s situation [dealing with the injury] was a little bit different depending on the timing of the surgery, how much (the Achilles) tore, things like that. I got a lot of mental advice, but not so much my Achilles in general.”

On what the mental advice was:
“Everyone I talked to pretty much had the same message – it was going to be a long road; it was going to be tough. That was one of the reasons I tried to stay around the team as much as possible, just to stay involved and keep my mind off of things, stay in the team atmosphere. I feel like the team did a great job of helping me get through it. It was just little things like that, staying positive and attack every day as if it’s a game.”

On if he will change the name on his jersey in Orlando if given the option, and his thoughts on what the NBA is doing in regards to social justice:
“I love what the league is doing just in general dealing with this. I love what some of the other players are taking the initiative to do on their own, I think that type of leadership is very important in times like these. As far as me and my jersey, I don’t even know if I’m going to be able to play, so I haven’t really looked that far ahead, but if I’m able to play I would definitely put something else on my jersey other than my name.”

On making the right decision between playing this season or focusing on long-term health:
“I think it starts with the team. Nobody has pressured me to do anything that I didn’t want to do. They’ve supported me throughout the whole injury, so I think that’s a big part of it. On the other hand, I’m just going to give it all I have. If I’m able to [play], I am, that’s just the way that it is. I haven’t been able to test a lot, like I said, but as we ramp up more I’ll be able to see, and I think [the team] will put me in a good position to know if I’m ready to go or not.”