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Steelers' Miller watches, waits while teammates practice

| Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 10:54 p.m.
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Heath Miller watches OTA on Tuesday, May 21, 2013, at the UPMC complex.
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
The Steelers' Heath Miller, with his knee wrapped in ice, watches as tight ends practice during OTAs on Wednesday, May 22, 2013, at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex.

Steelers tight end Heath Miller, still far from being practice-ready, understands it's “far too early” to know when he might return from a serious right knee injury he sustained late last season that required surgery to repair three ligaments.

“It's too far away to speculate,” Miller said Wednesday as he attended the second of the Steelers' offseason practices. “One thing I've learned with this thing, it's a long process, (it's) still going to be a long process. You don't know how your body is going to react moving forward with this stuff. It's too early to tell.”

Miller hasn't ruled out being ready for the Steelers' Sept. 8 opener against Tennessee, but he said he realizes that might be overly optimistic. Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert never counts on a player being fully recovered from such an injury for 12 months.

When the season opens, Miller would be 8 12 months removed from tearing the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments and damaging the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee Dec. 23 against Cincinnati.

The 30-year-old Miller is running, lifting weights and trying to get his right leg back into the shape it was before he was hurt.

“The big thing now is getting the strength back and getting the confidence back when I'm on the grass,” he said.

Despite the importance of Miller in the Steelers' offense — he had a team-high 71 catches and eight touchdowns while making the Pro Bowl last season — their only move to at least temporarily replace him was to re-sign Matt Spaeth. They did not draft a tight end.

Still, Miller said, “I've got no pressure from any of the coaches, from trainers, from anyone in the building to rush anything. They just want me to be 100 percent, so we're on the same page.”

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at arobinson@tribweb.com or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.

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