The knee injury that sent Chicago Bears tight end Zach Miller to the hospital was considered “more significant” than a regular dislocation, leading to emergency surgery to save the leg, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.
Mortensen reports that the procedure required vascular surgeons to operate on the leg, which included grafting tissue from Miller’s other leg in order to fix the damaged artery.
Sports medical analyst David J. Chao writes that the injury – which is considered career threatening – was as bad as originally feared, adding Miller suffered at least two torn ligaments (likely three) and artery damage. Chao compared the injury to that of linebacker Jaylon Smith, who suffered a severe knee injury in the final game of his college career. The injury is so severe, Chao believes it is “virtually impossible” for Miller to be healthy enough to play by Week 1 2018.
The Chicago Bears tight end was injured while trying to secure a pass in the end zone that was originally ruled a touchdown, but overturned after replay – which the NFL’s former head of officiating deemed to be a mistake. Head Coach John Fox confirmed the dislocated knee injury after the team’s loss to the New Orleans Saints, adding he was sent to a local hospital for further observation.
Miller, 33, has had a star-crossed career riddled by injuries. The Bears signed Miller in December 2013, but was placed on injured reserve in August after suffering a foot injury during the preseason. Miller played 15 of 16 games in 2015, missing the season finale with a toe injury. He signed a two-year extension before the 2016 season, but he ended that season on injured reserve after suffering a broken foot in Week 11. Miller also suffered a calf injury while with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2012, which led to him landing on IR and eventually waived/injured.