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Slimmer Miller joins Wolves

Knight-Ridder Newspapers

BOSTON -- With a bottle of water in one hand, his long-sleeved T-shirt drenched in sweat and his body leaning against an exercise bike, new Timberwolves backup and conspicuously overweight center Oliver Miller joked about his conditioning.

"We got up and down the court today and I didn't get winded. I'm feeling good,'' he said. "I'm shocking them by being able to run the floor.''

Miller running the floor at all is a joke to some. It was just three years ago -- during his most recent NBA season -- that the 6-foot-9 Miller weighed 375 pounds. He was a popular target for hecklers. But this is the new-and-lighter Miller. The former first-round draft pick out of Arkansas has dropped 40 pounds, and his practice tank top doesn't hug his body as much as in the past.

"I'm taking better care of my body now,'' he said. "I cut out the drinking and quit eating the carbs and sugars.''

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On the court, the Wolves expect Miller to help forward Kevin Garnett pull down some rebounds and clog the lane on defense. The Wolves signed Miller as a replacement while center Michael Olowokandi works his way back from knee surgery.

Miller has played with five different teams and averaged 7.9 points and 6.2 rebounds in his eight-year NBA career. He was averaging 16.2 points and 8.7 rebounds while playing with the Dakota Wizards of the CBA when the Wolves signed him.

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