The NFL season is just days away, but the Denver Broncos are probably going to have to go without one of their bedrock players.

The veteran pass-rusher suffered a tendon injury in his ankle at the end of practice, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, and he’ll need surgery that will “likely” end his season.

Obviously this is a big loss not just for the Broncos but for the league. Miller, 31, remains one of the most disruptive defensive players in football. Losing what could have been one of his last prime years is a big hit.

The Broncos acknowledged the injury on Twitter, too, essentially confirming the reports:

Hopefully Miller can make a full recovery and get back on the field next season. As for Denver, they already faced a difficult test this season, playing in the same division as the dominant Chiefs. It’s been years since they’ve had a winning season (9-7 in their Super Bowl follow up season in 2016, though they didn’t make the playoffs) and losing a top difference-maker before the season could even begin is crushing.

It’s also a worrying sign for other teams, of course. Football is always going to carry risks, of course, but a “freak” injury in a pad-less, indoor practice is something the league will note; a big concern for players choosing to play in the wake of Covid is whether injuries will go up due to a lack of preseason and a massively disrupted offseason for everyone. Hopefully that’s not the case, and this is just a one-off issue; the last thing NFL players need is an even higher risk of significant, career-changing injury.

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.