The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Pro

September 2, 2013

Miller inching toward return

PITTSBURGH — Heath Miller, yet to practice with the Pittsburgh Steelers, took the next step in the rehabilitation process after right knee surgery some eight months ago when he was taken off the physically unable to perform list.

The nine-year veteran tight end, who tore three ligaments in his right knee against Cincinnati last December, called the move a step in the right direction. He remains vague about a possible return date: The Steelers open the season hosting Tennessee on Sunday.

“My mindset’s not going to change,” Miller said Monday.  “I just want to keep improving each day and keep stacking those good days together. I still want to think short term, so that’s day by day, and keep getting better. That’s brought me to this point, and that will take me to a good point soon.”

He left it up to Steelers coach Mike Tomlin to determine when Miller can put the pads on. The two-time Pro Bowler, however, remains steadfast that he has never looked beyond incremental improvement.

“I feel good, and I’ve worked hard to get to this point,” Miller said.  “Hopefully, I can take these last few steps. Fortunately, the timing of the injury was pretty good, because I don’t feel like I missed as much as I could have if I would have had to sit and watch through a whole season.”

Still, Miller anticipates a bit of a learning curve after sitting out training camp and each of Pittsburgh’s four exhibition games.

“I did have to miss the preseason, which is never fun when you’re not out there with your team, but I know that I’m closer to the end than the beginning,” Miller said. “So, that’s a good thing.

“As I’ve said all along, and I’m not lying to you guys, I’ve just tried to take each day (and) get better, and I knew if I did that it would be a good outcome, whatever that was.”

Miller’s even-keel approach and tireless work ethic has rubbed off on his teammates, particularly fellow tight end David Johnson. Johnson missed the 2012 season after right knee surgery and was taken off the PUP list several weeks ago, but spent time working alongside Miller as they moved through the final stages of rehabilitation.

“It’s getting a whole lot better, and I think it’s going pretty good,” Johnson said.  “I’m just blessed to be back out here and working. It’s been a long road, but it’s feeling good. And every day it’s getting a whole lot better, and my running and blocking is getting a whole lot better every day as well.”

While Johnson’s presence gives the Steelers one of the better blocking tight ends in the league, he is an afterthought in the passing game.

Not Miller, who led Pittsburgh with 71 receptions and eight touchdowns last year.

“The team needs Heath,” Johnson said. “I feel like once he gets all the way back he’ll help the team even more. We ran a little bit together, and he’s doing pretty good. So, I think he’ll be all right. And whatever the team needs me to do until he gets back, I’ll be ready for it.”

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Pro
  • Shelley and McElligot Series serves as reunion for former Chiefs personnel

    Not so long ago, Bob McElligott, like most Western Pennsylvania hockey fans, would savor a long Pittsburgh Penguins playoff run.
    The Somerset native followed the Pens’ Stanley Cup-winning teams in 1991 and 1992.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malkin nearing return

    The Columbus Blue Jackets are the closest NHL team to the Pittsburgh Penguins, at least geographically. The two franchises are separated by 185 miles of highway.

    April 15, 2014

  • Reds swing way past Pirates

    Mike Leake doubled and hit a two-run homer Tuesday night, ending Gerrit Cole's winning streak and leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that completed two days full of homers and delays.
    First, the NL Central rivals completed a game that was suspended in the sixth inning because of rain the previous night.

    April 15, 2014

  • Pirates Game 1 0415 Pirates edge out Reds in suspended game

    After all those home runs and an overnight delay, it was settled by a single.
    Andrew McCutchen doubled and came around on Russell Martin’s single in the seventh inning on Tuesday, giving the Pittsburgh Pirates an 8-7 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the completion of a game that spanned two days and 10 home runs.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0414 Pressure on Penguins to capture Cup

    The statistics are gaudy.
    And if the Pittsburgh Penguins can’t find a way to extend their season into the final days of spring, ultimately forgettable.
    The same team that led the NHL in man games lost due to injury (more than 500) also earned 109 points, led the Metropolitan Division from mid-October on and received another peerless effort from star Sidney Crosby, who topped the league with 104 points and is a near lock for the second MVP award of his career.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0413 Brewers sweep away Pirates

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Senators dump Penguins in shootout

    April 13, 2014

  • Pirates 0412 Brewers continue hot play

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0412 Flyers cut down Penguins in OT

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • first inning Hot Brewers sink Pirates

    Aramis Ramirez hit a two-run homer that backed Wily Peralta, and the Milwaukee Brewers extended their winning streak to seven with a 4-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.
    Francisco Liriano befuddled the Brewers with his slider over the first three innings before Ramirez sent a 1-2 fastball over the left-field wall for a 2-0 lead.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads