The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Pro

December 27, 2013

Heath Miller's recovery going well

PITTSBURGH — It’s been a full year since Heath Miller had reconstructive knee surgery. He’s happy with the way things have gone, but the Pittsburgh Steelers’ tight end is not about to celebrate.

At this time last season, Miller was selected as the Steelers’ MVP by his teammates, the same day he had surgery to repair several ligaments in the right knee that he injured Dec. 23, 2012, against Cincinnati.

Miller missed that final regular-season game and the rehab kept him out of the opening two games this season.

Still, he has been his usual solid self with 56 catches for 576 yards and one touchdown in 13 games. In 15 games last season, Miller had 71 catches for 816 yards and eight scores.

“I think I’ve gotten better throughout the season,” Miller said. “I felt good going into every game that I played, and I feel fortunate to have felt that way.”

Miller’s first game was against the Chicago Bears Sept. 22 at Heinz Field. That might have been a little earlier than some believed, but not for Miller.

“My mindset was to work as hard as possible and whenever my knee was good enough to allow me to move forward, then I would be ready,” Miller said. “I was hoping to be ready to start the season, but I wasn’t quite there. But, to come out of this thing and to miss one game at the end of last season and two games to start this year, I’m pretty fortunate.”

Steelers backup tight end Matt Spaeth, who was rehabbing a foot injury until joining the lineup Dec. 8 against Miami, believed that Miller is a model for any player – rookie or veteran – and labeled him as a consummate professional.

“I think he’s as good and as reliable as he’s ever been,” Spaeth said. “He’s just one of those guys who does what he’s supposed to do all of the time. So, he does it well, and he does a good job. I guess he’s one of those guys who, if you’re building a team, you wish you had a bunch of him.”

Miller had three catches in his opener against the Bears and six each in the next two games. After several nondescript games, which included his only touchdown this season, Miller made eight catches for 67 yards in a home win against the Detroit Lions.

“Like I’ve said, on Sundays, I always felt good,” Miller said. “But the process I had to adjust to was just getting to Sunday.”

Miller generally took Wednesdays as a maintenance day during the season, staying off the practice field but working in the weight room and on a treadmill.

This was a bit of an adjustment for Miller, who usually gets just about every practice rep, but he made it work.

“You have to try to stay in shape, even if you’re not taking every rep,” Miller said. “I’m used to taking most of the reps and my body feeling a certain way heading into a game. I don’t know if that’s mental or physical, but you have to adjust.”

Miller is entering the final season of the six-year, $35.3 million contract he signed in 2009. He is to make $6.02 million in 2014 and become a free agent in 2015.

Notes: LB Terence Garvin (knee) is out. ... OLB Jason Worilds (abdomen) and WR Emmanuel Sanders (knee) are questionable. Sanders said it would be a game-time decision. ... OG David DeCastro (back), OLB Jarvis Jones (illness), DE Brett Keisel (foot), TE Miller (not injury related), SS Troy Polamalu (not injury related) and WR Markus Wheaton (finger) are all probable.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Pro
  • Pirates 0721 Rallying Dodgers snap Pirates’ win streak at 3 games

    Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched seven strong innings, Adrian Gonzalez reached base five times and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 on Monday night.
    Ryu (11-5) joined Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw in making the Dodgers the first team in the majors with three 11-game winners.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0720 Pirates rally to keep sweep

    Taking the extra base was the key for the Pittsburgh Pirates in completing a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies.
    Andrew McCutchen hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh inning, Neil Walker followed with a home run and the Pirates overcame a three-run deficit to beat the Rockies 5-3 Sunday.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • McIlroy 0720 McIlroy holds on to win British Open

    Walking off the 18th green as the British Open champion, Rory McIlroy kept gazing at all the greats on golf’s oldest trophy.
    On the claret jug, his name is etched in silver below Phil Mickelson.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0719 Pirates take second straight over Rockies, win in 11th inning

    Jordy Mercer doubled home Neil Walker with one out in the bottom of the 11th inning to lift the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night.
    Walker led off the inning with a single against Colorado’s Chad Bettis (0-2), moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, and scored one batter later when Mercer hit a drive deep into the gap in left-center.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • out at home Eighth-inning rally carries Pirates to victory over Rockies

    Travis Snider’s pinch-hit double in the eighth scored Neil Walker to spark the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night.
    Walker trotted home when Colorado right fielder Carlos Gonzalez couldn’t track down Snider’s sinking line drive off reliever Matt Belisle (2-5). All-Star Josh Harrison added a sacrifice fly one batter later.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • score Pirates in race, hope for late surge

    The Pittsburgh Pirates find themselves in an average, every day – if still heated – pennant race.
    A season after shedding the yoke of two decades of failure with a stirring run to a playoff berth, the Pirates are just another solid if not spectacular team trying to keep pace in the jam-packed NL Central.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Derby 0714 Cespedes wins again, beating Frazier in HR derby

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • All-Star Game 0714 Pitching matchup features two of game’s most dominant arms

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeter 0714 Derek Jeter, an All-Star for the last time

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cleveland Browns getting 'Swagger’ with new dog mascot

    Johnny Manziel’s newest teammate with the Browns has four legs and can roll over on command.

    July 14, 2014

Poll

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads