Steelers TE Heath Miller Says Knee Rehab Is Going Well, Won\’t Speculate About Season Opener

As of Wednesday, Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller is almost five months removed from his surgery to repair the serious right knee injury that he suffered late last season against the Cincinnati Bengals and he talked about his current status with the media following the second OTA practice of the 2013 season.

“I\’m feeling good,” said the 30-year-old Miller. “It\’s good to get out here and watch the guys working, good turnout for the team and doing good.”

Miller, who reportedly tore the ACL, MCL and PCL in his right knee, was asked where he currently is at in his rehab.

“I\’m running around, lifting weights, trying to get stronger,” said Miller. “Whatever John (Steelers head trainer John Norwig) has me do everyday, I\’ve been able to do it. So I\’m doing well.”

As far as his goal goes, Miller said that he just wants to get back to full strength.

“Ultimate goal, most important goal, is to be is to be 100%,” said Miller, who caught 71 passes for career highs of 816 yards and 8 touchdowns in 2012. “Get this thing better no matter how long it takes. I think that\’s the overriding goal and expect to be there.”

Miller, who was spotted Wednesday with an ice wrap around his right knee, was then asked if there was any danger in him pushing himself too hard during the rehab process.

“Yeah, I would think,” the tight end said. “You have to listen to your body and trust the trainers, which is what I\’ve been able to do. Its been pretty apparent when my body\’s not ready to do something, then we communicate that, and we take our time and proceed that way. I feel that\’s the best way to do it and its doing well so far.”

Miller was then asked if he thought he would be ready for the 2013 season opener and he of course refused to put a timetable on his return.

“It\’s too far away to speculate,” said Miller. “One thing that I\’ve leaned with this thing is it\’s a long process – still going to be a long process. You don\’t know how your body reacts, or is going to react, moving forward with the new stuff. So, its too early to tell.”

So is Miller currently where he expects to be in his rehab?

“Yeah, I think so,” Miller said. “I\’m pleased with everything that I\’ve been asked to do, that John has asked me to do so far. I\’ve been pleased and he\’s been pleased with the way that my knee is reacting. So far, so good.”

When the questions about his knee subsided, Miller was then asked about the Steelers offense headed into 2013 and if he thinks that they need to improve.

“Well, I think that it can certainly improve,” said Miller, who is entering his ninth year with the Steelers. “I think that\’s why everyone is here working to get better at it. I think we have to get better if want to better as a team and a lot of that falls on our shoulders as an offense.”

Almost two full moths ago, I wrote that we shouldn\’t rule out Miller for the opening game of the 2013 season and I still think that he has a pretty good shot at being ready by then.  However, Miller did admit on Wednesday that he still needs to get the leg stronger from the atrophy that set in since his surgery and that he also needs to work on building up his confidence in the knee when he gets on grass.

Miller also did not rule out the need to wear a brace once he does return during his talk with the media and although he didn\’t say it, he almost certainly will begin training camp on the Active PUP list when the team reports to Latrobe later this summer.

As I wrote previously, Miller will be 8 months and 13 days removed from his surgery by the time the first Sunday of the 2013 season rolls around. If he is not ready for action by then, the decision will need to be made as to whether or not he needs to be placed on the Reserve PUP list to start the season. Should that wind up being the case, Miller will be forced to sit out the first six weeks of the season at a minimum.

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