Sixers on the run to get ready for uptempo ball

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - October 1, 2008 There's a lot more of that coming this season, and training camp this week at Penn State University is the time when Cheeks can start building his team's stamina. He needs to whip his players' legs into shape for the uptempo basketball he wants to play with veteran point guard Andre Miller leading the way.

"This is more like putting some things in, getting your conditioning in. For a lot of parts, a lot of guys are in shape," Cheeks said after Wednesday's first two-a-day practice session at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Perhaps not for every part of practice, though.

Swingman Andre Iguodala sat out the morning session after bruising his left ankle during the first day of practice on Tuesday. Kareem Rush had an ice pack wrapped around his right hamstring just as a precaution.

Forward Thaddeus Young wasn't looking forward to Friday's open practice.

"Yeah, we'll be tired on Friday," Young joked. "We've been doing two-a-days."

Cheeks isn't fretting about the sore bodies, considered just part of the normal aches and pains of getting back into NBA shape.

"It's just part of training camp. The reason why I coach is because I can't do that any more," the former All-Star point guard said with a laugh.

Instead, he leaves the distribution duties to Miller, the quiet nine-year veteran who thrived last season while directing the fastbreak offense with guys like Young and Iguodala flying down the court. Miller had career-best averages of 17 points and 6.9 assists.

The Sixers added a big option for him, too, in 6-foot-9 power forward Elton Brand, who should give Philly a low-post threat as well.

Miller said new guys like Brand help give him new energy for camp, which he's been through numerous times.

"Yeah, it does. It just takes time to jell," the reserved guard said as he leaned back on a folding chair at the end of practice. "It's going to take some time, that's what practice is for."

What Miller isn't worried about is a new contract. He has one year left on his current deal and hired a new agent, Andy Miller, about a month ago.

The Sixers want him back, and Cheeks went out to check on his point guard in California in the offseason. Andre Miller, who was born in Los Angeles and starred at Utah in college, seemed to have warmed up last season to the East Coast.

"Just go out and do my job, and everything else will take care of itself," Andre Miller said.

For now, that job entails getting his body ready for a full season of running Cheeks' offense. After a second day of light practice and sprints, Miller's body was a little sore, but it was nothing out of the ordinary.

"It's normal for every team, every player, when you don't run as hard, and get up and down as much as you do in the regular season," Miller said.

He estimates it will take about three weeks to get his conditioning up to par - putting him right on schedule for the season opener against Toronto on Oct. 29.

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