LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Bears tight end Zach Miller recently cleared a major hurdle when he took his first steps since undergoing emergency vascular surgery to save his left leg on Oct. 29.
“That was big,” Miller said on Thursday as the Chicago chapter of the PFWA honored him with the 2017 Good Guy award. “That didn’t feel that good, but it did feel good. That’s just something I’m working throughout the rehab and trying to get stronger.”
Miller was rushed to University Medical Center New Orleans in Week 8 after he dislocated his left knee while making an over-the-shoulder catch in the end zone during Chicago’s game against the Saints.
Miller’s leg bent awkwardly on the play and he stayed down for several minutes until he was taken off the field on a cart. Officials later ruled that Miller did not maintain possession of the ball, negating a potential touchdown catch.
Doctors performed emergency vascular surgery that night to repair a damaged artery in Miller’s left leg that stemmed from the knee dislocation.
Miller remained hospitalized in New Orleans for eight days before being transported back to Chicago in a medevac jet. He was discharged from a Chicago area hospital weeks ago, but still has to undergo another procedure on his left knee.
Doctors told Miller he must build up strength in his leg before he can have the final surgery.
“I’m doing it [taking steps] every day just to kind of work on it,” Miller said. “I’m not walking around the city and doing things of that nature but I’m just working on the strength and still trying to build things up around my knee, so once I do get that last procedure done, I have strength built up around it so it will help make the rehab little bit easier for.”
Miller, 33, is confident his long-term quality of life will not be affected by the injury. Miller is a free agent after the season.