Steelers Coach: Heath Miller expected to return to full practice
But even if the Miller plays this week, Tomlin cautioned fans not to expect the veteran tight end to provide solutions for all of the team’s offensive woes.
"We're not expecting Heath to step out of a phone booth with a cape on," Tomlin said in his news conference.
Miller, who is coming back from reconstructive knee surgery after suffering both MCL and ACL tears in his right knee last season, was activated by the Steelers only on Aug. 31 and had been a limited participant in practice the entire last week. Coming off that kind of injury, Miller is not expected to see heavy workload in the Steelers’ running game, even if he is able to return to the field right away.
But the Steelers’ can use whatever little help they can get after scoring a combined 19 points over the last two weeks. The Steelers’ fill-in tight ends – David Paulson, Michael Palmer and David Johnson – have been inadequate to supplement their running game so far this season. In their first two games, the Steelers have rushed for a combined 75 yards.
While it seems like an early timetable for a player to return from the kind of knee injury Miller suffered in Week 16 against the Bengals last season, the Steelers just might need him on the field at this point. Most teams who start the season 0-2 don’t usually advance to the post-season. And although Miller won’t be able to make much of a difference against the 2-0 Bears at Heinz Field on Sunday, it will be a positive sign to have him back in the rotation until he adjusts back to game speed.
Eventually, Miller will be able to return to his spot as the team’s primary tight end, while also helping take some pressure of starting receivers Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders by giving quarterback Ben Roethlisberger a reliable target to work the middle of field.
If all goes well, the Steelers offense might finally pick up its production.