By the time the 2013 season opener rolls around for the Pittsburgh Steelers, tight end Heath Miller will be roughly eight and a half months removed from his knee surgery. While that amount of time might have been enough for Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson to recover and get back on the field, it\’s looking like the Steelers don\’t want to press Miller to do the same.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert were both guest Friday evening on Movin\’ The Chains prior to practice getting underway and both were asked to comment on Miller and his rehab.
“He\’s doing great,” Tomlin said. “I actually went over to the field where he was training today along with a couple of other guys, Sean Spence, he\’s doing great. Heath\’s a stud. He\’s going to be ready to rock and roll. More than anything, it\’s about us exercising precautions so that when it\’s behind us, it\’s behind us.”
Like Tomlin, Colbert kind of gives you a hint as to what they have planned for not only Miller, but David Johnson as well.
“If we end up putting Heath on Reserve PUP of course he\’s automatically out for six weeks,” said Colbert. “Same thing with David Johnson. My guess is the chances of that happening our greater with David getting back than Heath getting back for the start of the season. I think we\’ll have one of those two back, so if we have David or Heath back for the beginning of the season, we\’ll have Matt Spaeth and will have David Paulson. Those are three guys that we have that have played in the NFL.”
Colbert said Johnson needed a clean up procedure done recently to repair some scar tissue, but really made it sound like he\’ll be ready to be the third tight end on the 53 man roster behind Matt Spaeth and David Paulson with Miller being placed on the Reserve PUP list.
While that sounds like the course of action right now, it could change, as running back Rashard Mendenhall was not put on PUP last year at the start of the regular season. While he didn\’t play in the first few games, Mendenhall also wasn\’t forced to miss the first six. Did they push him too hard? Perhaps. Did they learn from that situation? Perhaps.
The Steelers know how important Miller is to the offense and the last thing they want is him suffering a set back. I think Tomlin said it best when he said they want his injury behind them for good once it is behind them, so I suspect Miller won\’t be ready for the start of the season.