The Buffalo Bills will face a significant setback at the start of the 2023 NFL season as star pass rusher Von Miller will be sidelined for at least the first four games. Miller, who suffered a devastating knee injury during the Thanksgiving game in 2022, will begin the season on the team’s physically unable to perform (PUP) list, according to reports from multiple sources.
The Injury and Recovery Process
Miller’s injury occurred on November 24, 2022, during a game against the Detroit Lions. He endured a torn ACL, an injury that required extensive medical attention and rehabilitation. The severity of the injury forced him to miss the remainder of the regular season as well as the Bills’ playoff games.
Despite his initial optimism about returning for the 2023 season opener against the New York Jets, Miller’s recovery has taken longer than anticipated. He acknowledged in June that he would not rush the process and would prioritize his long-term health over a hasty return to the field.
The Decision to Start the Season on the PUP List
The Bills organization, in consultation with medical professionals, made the decision to place Miller on the PUP list for the start of the season. This move allows him more time to fully recover and regain his strength before returning to game action.
By starting the season on the PUP list, Miller will be forced to miss the Bills’ first four games. This absence will undoubtedly impact the team’s pass rush, as Miller has been a key contributor in previous seasons. The Bills will be without his disruptive presence on the field as they face the Jets, Raiders, Commanders, and Dolphins in the early part of the season.
The Impact on the Bills’ Defense
Miller’s absence will be felt on the Bills’ defense, as he has been an integral part of their pass-rushing unit. In the 2022 season, despite only playing in 11 games, Miller recorded eight sacks and 10 tackles for loss. His ability to pressure opposing quarterbacks and disrupt offensive schemes has been a key factor in the Bills’ defensive success.
To compensate for Miller’s absence, the Bills will rely on other talented pass rushers on their roster. Leonard Floyd, a veteran linebacker who joined the Bills during the offseason, is expected to step into Miller’s role. Floyd brings a wealth of experience and a track record of success, having accumulated 29 sacks over the past three seasons with the Los Angeles Rams.
The Road to Recovery
Miller’s recovery process has been ongoing since his injury, and he has made progress in his rehabilitation. Bills general manager Brandon Beane expressed optimism about Miller’s condition, stating that he is in a “great spot.” However, the team remains cautious and will take a patient approach to ensure that Miller is fully ready to return to action.
The Bills’ decision to prioritize Miller’s long-term health and well-being is a testament to their commitment to their players’ welfare. They understand the importance of allowing sufficient time for recovery to minimize the risk of re-injury and ensure that Miller can make a full impact when he returns to the field.
The Outlook for the Bills
While Miller’s absence is undoubtedly a blow to the Bills’ defense, the team is equipped with depth and talent to weather the storm. Players like Leonard Floyd, Greg Rousseau, and A.J. Epenesa will be called upon to step up and fill the void left by Miller’s absence.
The Bills have high expectations for the 2023 season and aspirations to make a deep playoff run. While Miller’s initial absence may present challenges, the team is hopeful that he will make a full recovery and be able to contribute to their playoff push later in the season.