Wednesday, May 22, 2013
TE Miller cautious on return to Steelers
By ESPN.com staff
PITTSBURGH -- Heath Miller knows his football career isn't over, just paused. When the injured Pittsburgh Steelers Pro Bowl tight end will be able to hit the "play" button again is anybody's guess.
While allowing there's "a chance" his surgically repaired right knee could be ready before the season opener against Tennessee on Sept. 8, Miller thinks it's too early to project just when he'll slip on his No. 83 jersey and return to his job as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's favorite target.
"I'm just trying to get better every day, and I'm doing what I've been asked to do," Miller said Wednesday. "And I'm listening to my body, so I'll just progress that way."
Five months removed from a gruesome hit that prematurely ended the best season of his career, Miller's body is telling him to be encouraged. He's already running and walked around the practice field in a T-shirt and black shorts with his right knee wrapped in tape and ice during the second day of organized team activities.
It's a far different view than the last time Miller was on a field. He made a leaping catch in the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 23 and took a low shot from Bengals safety Reggie Nelson. Miller hobbled to the sideline only to return later only to have the damage become more extensive. He ended up tearing the ACL in the knee and injuring the medial collateral ligament and posterior collateral ligament too.
The road back hasn't been easy. Miller is on an aggressive lifting program to get his right leg back into shape. Just as important is Miller's peace of mind. The pain he can deal with, the uncertainty of what his next step will hold is something else entirely. Miller figures getting a handle on the former will help him with the latter.
"That's the big thing now, the main thing, because after surgery you lose a lot of strength," Miller said. "And then there's some atrophy. So, I want to get it back to where it's as strong as my other leg."
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