Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller talked on Wednesday about how his knee rehab is coming along, but he refused to speculate whether or not he would be ready to play in the season opener game of the 2013 season against the Tennessee Titans. While Miller might have refused to circle a date on the calendar, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger basically did it for him during his Thursday morning interview on DVE Radio.
“I don\’t want to speak out of line, but I think it\’s a non-issue, truthfully,” said Roethlisberger, when asked about Miller\’s rehab. “I know that it\’s an issue to fans and everyone, but I see Heath, I know Heath. I know Heath better than a lot of people on this team and I see Heath jumping on boxes and doing all kind of things. To me, this is a non-issue. To me, its like lets let Heath rest until we need him and then we\’ll use him. There\’s no doubt in my mind that Heath\’s not there for the first game.”
After a short pause, Roethlisberger clarified his stance on Miller even more.
“That\’s my mind and like I said, maybe it\’s just me being optimistic, but I know Heath and I know how hard Heath works,” said Roethlisberger. “The biggest thing to me is going to be trying to hold Heath back, because I think that he\’s going to want to get back out there too soon. But I\’m going to fight to say, \’Heath, don\’t play in any preseason games, just get out there for the regular season.\'”
As I pointed out in my post on Wednesday that recapped what Miller had to say to the media, he is now almost five months removed from his surgery and will be over eight months removed from it come Week 1 of the 2013 season. Judging by all of the things that the Steelers tight end said about where he is currently at in the rehab process, and knowing how hard he is likely working at getting himself ready, I will not be surprised one bit if he is in uniform for the season opener.
However, like Roethlisberger said, it is important that Miller doesn\’t push himself too hard, as the last thing that he needs right now is a setback. I fully expect that Miller will start training camp on the Active PUP list and I would be surprised if he plays any during the preseason. I also fully expect that he will start the 2013 season on the Steelers 53 man roster and not the Reserve PUP list.