The Pittsburgh Steelers were eliminated from the NFL playoffs on Sunday afternoon, but they were dealt an additional blow when tight end Heath Miller left with what appeared to be an ugly knee injury.
UPDATE: Wednesday, December 26 at 12:21 p.m. ET
As expected, the Steelers placed Heath Miller (knee) on injured reserve, according to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette.
#Steelers place Ike Taylor, Heath Miller, Baron Batch on IR.— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) December 26, 2012
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UPDATE: Monday, December 24 at 12:40 p.m. ET
Adding injury to insult after being eliminated from the postseason race yesterday, Adam Schefter of ESPN is reporting that Miller suffered a torn ACL and MCL in his knee.
And Steelers TE Heath Miller tore his ACL and MCL. Brutal.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 24, 2012
The good news is that Miller can get his knee taken care of now and be ready, or at least close to it, for the start of the 2013 season.
Injuries were one of the biggest stories of the 2012 Steelers, so it is fitting that one of the most important players on the offense has his season end with one of the worst knee injuries a player can suffer.
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Miller being helped off. Not putting weight on knee. #Steelers— Dale Lolley (@dlolleyor) December 23, 2012
Heath Miller (right knee) declared out, just left for locker room.— Dejan Kovacevic (@Dejan_Kovacevic) December 23, 2012
I suppose the silver lining here is that Miller, who watched from the locker room as his team was eliminated from postseason play by the Cincinnati Bengals, will have plenty of time to heal.
With Week 17 now a meaningless contest, there would be no point for the Steelers to rush Miller back to the gridiron, regardless of how severe his injury might be.
Still, though, watching a player go down with a knee injury is never something fans nor teams want to see.
With Mike Wallace struggling to produce, Miller, like he has so often this season, became Ben Roethlisberger's favorite target on Sunday. Serving as a reliable underneath option, he pulled in three catches on a team-high nine targets for 45 yards.
On the season, Miller has now quietly recorded 71 receptions, 816 yards and eight touchdowns—all of which rank him in the top five in the NFL among tight ends—in what is easily the most productive season of the 30-year-old's career.
At this point, Steelers fans will simply be hoping that the injury is nothing too serious and that Miller will be back healthy in 2013 to build off this tremendously encouraging season.
We'll be sure to keep you updated as more becomes known.