Von Miller Addresses Return Timetable

Von Miller previously made it back from an ACL tear in time to start the following season, returning ahead of the 2014 slate despite suffering the injury in December 2013. Miller did not miss a game in 2014 and was available for every Broncos contest for the ensuing four years.

At 34, Miller is approaching his second such comeback differently. It does not sound like the Bills edge rusher is targeting Week 1 as a surefire comeback date from the ACL tear sustained on Thanksgiving. A return before the midseason point is squarely on the future Hall of Famer’s agenda, however.

No, I don’t,” Miller said (via the Buffalo News’ Mark Gaughan) when asked if he had a firm return timetable. “I did in 2013 when I tore my ACL I wanted to get back as fast as possible and play and show guys you don’t need to take nine months to recover from an ACL. But my goals are different now. I want to be here for my team when they need me the most.

I feel like late in the season when it really got tough, I wasn’t able to be there because I was injured. So the most important thing for me is to be available when my team really needs me. If that’s Week 1, then I’ll be happy for that. If it’s Week 6, I’ll happy for that. But I guarantee it won’t be any later than that.”

The 12-year veteran had kept the door open for a possible late-season return, as initial reports did not indicate an ACL tear. But doctors subsequently discovered a tear to lead to the shutdown. Miller missed the Bills’ final eight games.

The team’s caution with Tre’Davious White, who suffered a torn ACL on Thanksgiving 2021, would point to Miller missing the start of the season. While the two injuries are not equal, and full-year absences are not the norm for ACL recoveries. But the injuries occurring on Thanksgiving injects a rather key similarity. White did not come back to action until the Bills’ Thanksgiving game in Detroit. As such, Miller and White have barely shared the field thus far. Like the Bills missed White during their playoff shootout in Kansas City, their 2022 edition’s pass rush certainly lacked the punch it had when Miller was healthy.

Buffalo seems likely to place Miller on the active/PUP list when training camp starts. That camp-only designation will give the Bills flexibility, as they can either go game by game with Miller or stash their perennial Pro Bowl edge defender on the reserve/PUP list upon setting their roster. The latter course of action would sideline Miller for the season’s first four games — matchups against the Jets, Commanders, Raiders and Dolphins — while saving a roster spot.

Miller signed a six-year, $120MM Bills accord in March 2022, with the AFC East team outflanking the Rams and Cowboys for the former Super Bowl MVP’s services. Guarantees into Year 3 helped seal the deal. Miller produced early for his third NFL team, totaling eight sacks and 12 QB hits in 11 games. The Bills have re-signed a few defenders this offseason — Jordan Poyer, Jordan Phillips and Shaq Lawson among them — but did not make a major addition at defensive end. The team did not draft a D-lineman and will be counting on Miller to return to form.

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