Von Miller Not Giving Up on 2020, Has Told Teammates a December Return is Possible, per Report
The 2020 season has been replete with injuries across the NFL, likely due to the pandemic-shortened offseason and canceled preseason. The Denver Broncos — it's fair to say — have been inordinately affected by the injury bug, without a who's-who list of star players going down over the last two weeks.
The first domino to fall in Denver was star linebacker Von Miller. Miller suffered a non-contact ankle injury on September 8 as the Broncos began their week of preparation to host the Tennessee Titans in the season-opener.
Miller dislocated the peroneal tendon in his ankle and within three days, had gone under the knife to repair it. The timetable? Most sports medicine professionals called it a season-ending injury with the best-case scenario being a three-month recovery.
Three months from the time of Miller's injury? That would put him back in the saddle in December, if everything went perfectly as his 31-year-old recovers.
That, however, is exactly what Miller is focused on attaining. The eight-time Pro Bowler has his sights set on a 2020 return and has even told teammates he believes a December return "is possible", according to a report for CBS Sports' Jason LaCanfora.
"It may be a longshot, but you never know with Von," said one source with knowledge of the situation. "He is a freak athlete, and he is very focused on doing everything he can to get back in December."
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Obviously, it would be fortuitous for the Broncos to get Miller back in December just in time for the stretch run. But anything that could even be construed as rushing Miller back onto the field would become a moot objective if the Broncos continues on its current pace.
Thanks to the injuries and a couple of coaching snafus, the Broncos have limped out to an 0-2 start. The latest dagger was the loss of not only Pro Bowl wideout Courtland Sutton for the season but also starting QB Drew Lock for the next 2-6 weeks.
If offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur can keep backup-turned-starter Jeff Driskel serviceable while Lock recovers, the Broncos might be able to stay afloat in the interim. From there, once Lock returns, the Broncos would still have at worst half the season to left to play.
When Lock entered the lineup last year after a long injury-caused absence, it gave the Broncos a spark that lifted the team for five weeks. The Broncos won four of those games so there's no telling what type of impact Lock's return this might have.
If Miller rehabs and recovers well enough to force the conversation inside Broncos HQ and Lock can steer this team into AFC relevance, the incentive to activate Von off injured reserve would be strong. Imagine what sort of boost getting an all-time great back in the lineup would be for the Broncos, even if it's in a reduced role.
Conversely, if the Broncos hit December many games below .500, there would be absolutely zero reason to bring Miller back.
For now, fans can only hope while Miller keeps his nose to the grindstone and diligently tackles his rehab and recovery. Keep your fingers crossed that a potential Miller return is even a consideration for the Broncos by the time December rolls around.