Bills' elite pass rusher Miller out for season after knee surgery

Nov 24, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Buffalo Bills linebacker Von Miller (40) is carted off the field during the second quarter of a game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

Dec 7 (Reuters) - The Buffalo Bills' Super Bowl hopes suffered a major blow as the team said on Wednesday that elite pass rusher Von Miller will miss the rest of the 2022 National Football League season after having surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Miller has missed one game since he left the Bills' Nov. 24 win over the Detroit Lions but exploratory surgery on Tuesday revealed the ACL injury. Miller had previously said he sustained damage to his meniscus.

"Very unfortunate situation for Von obviously and our team," Bills head coach Sean McDermott told reporters. "We care for him obviously, like we would any player. We know how much this means to him in terms of playing and being with the team.

"So we look forward to getting him back, obviously off the field for the rest of the season and his leadership. And we're certainly thinking about him as he recovers here."

A week after suffering the injury the Bills placed Miller on injured reserve, which meant he would miss at least the next four games, and the hope was that he would be able to return at some point during the season.

Miller signed with Buffalo in March a month after winning a Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams. He also won a Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos in 2016 and was named the most valuable player of the NFL's championship game that year.

Miller's arrival in Buffalo provided a significant upgrade to the Bills' pass rush and through 11 games the 33-year-old linebacker recorded a team-high eight sacks along with 21 tackles, two passes defended and a forced fumble.

Miller, speaking in a video taken from his hospital bed and posted on social media, appeared to be in good spirits and told his fans not to feel sorry for him.

"I'm good, man. I'll be right back man," he said. "Mentally, I couldn't be in a better spot, man, and I think that is the majority of it. Don't feel sorry for me. Don't say I hate it for you, none of that stuff because I am good.

"I'm excited for the opportunity to show my team mates how tough I am, how hard I work and how important that this means to me."

The Bills, who began the season as favourites to win the Super Bowl, have five games left in the regular season and lead the AFC East division with a 9-3 record going into Sunday's game against the New York Jets.

According to a report on the Bills website, the team expect Miller to be an important leadership voice in the locker room for the stretch run and are optimistic he will return to play sometime in the 2023 season.

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto Editing by Toby Davis and Christian Radnedge

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