Expert: Thumb could limit Miller

November, 30, 2011
11/30/11
6:10
PM ET
Denver star rookie linebacker Von Miller is reportedly vowing to play Sunday at Minnesota despite having surgery to repair ligaments in his thumb.

Still, the Denver Post reports Miller might not play Sunday. He didn’t practice Wednesday and his availability for the rest of the week is in question. I spoke to ESPN medical analyst Stephania Bell to get her thoughts on it. Without knowing the specific ligament damage, Bell said it is impossible to exactly breakdown Miller’s injury. But she did say Miller will likely be limited and “essentially be playing with one hand” if he plays Sunday.

“It comes down to the position of the injury and how it is going to be protected,” Bell said. “He will probably have a hard cast or a hard splint on it. The question will he be able to be effective because he essentially will be playing with one hand … He will have to balance protection with being able to function.”

Miller is the centerpiece of the Broncos’ defensive revival. Miller has 10.5 sacks in 11 games and he has 27 tackles in the past three games. He reportedly suffered the injury in the fourth quarter of the Broncos’ overtime win at San Diego on Sunday. Miller made a huge tackle for a four-yard loss on San Diego running back Mike Tolbert late in overtime.

Meanwhile, receiver Eddie Royal has a toe injury and he may not be able to play Sunday. Running back Willis McGahee was out with an illness Wednesday.

UPDATE: This is what Denver coach John Fox said of Miller’s status this week. It’s not much: “He’ll be day-to-day just like everybody on that [injury] report. By league rule, we don’t have to announce what their availability will be until Friday. It’s our policy to not do that until then.”

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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