Blazers will send Mills back to D-League, Pritchard says

Rookie guard filled in during Blake's absence

By Brian T. Smith, Columbian Sports Writer

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— The Trail Blazers will assign rookie guard Patty Mills to the team's NBA Development League affiliate, the Idaho Stampede, Blazers general manager Kevin Pritchard said Tuesday.

Mills has played just five minutes in four games since being called up by the Blazers.

The 6-foot, 185-pound guard out of St. Mary’s was added to Portland's roster Jan. 3 to fill in for veteran guard Steve Blake, who missed four consecutive contests due to pneumonia.

However, Blake returned to action Sunday, recording seven scoreless minutes during the Blazers’ 106-94 defeat to the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Rose Garden.

Blake's minutes are expected to increase in future games, and the Blazers want Mills — who missed all of training camp and the first two months of the season while recovering from foot surgery — to pick up as much playing time as possible.

Mills averaged 30 points and shot 11 of 14 behind the 3-point line in two victories for the Stampede before being called up by the Blazers.

“He looked good when he was down there,” Pritchard said Monday.