ESPN A Denver Broncos defense already searching for answers as the postseason approaches will be without linebacker Von Miller for what remains of the team’s season. Miller tore the ACL in his left knee midway through the first quarter of Sunday’s 37-13 victory over the Houston Texans, a league source said. Miller underwent an MRI on Monday morning and the exam confirmed what some team officials had feared after the game.The two-time Pro Bowl selection now faces surgery and a recovery that is expected to keep him out of the team’s offseason program and likely at least some of training camp. Miller played in only nine games this season. He was suspended the first six games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Coach John Fox said following the game that Miller’s fate was “in the medical people’s hands right now.” Miller left the game after his leg buckled as he was fighting to get off a block on a 3-yard completion from Matt Schaub to Keshawn Martin. Both Miller and defensive end Shaun Phillips were down after the play, but Phillips got up and walked off the field as Miller was helped to the sideline. According to teammates, Miller was not using crutches after the game and told others he did not have significant pain in the knee. Following a preliminary exam by team doctors in the locker room, however, several people with the Broncos said they believed Miller damaged his ACL. Miller had one tackle Sunday and finishes with 33. He’s tied for second on the team with five sacks. Nate Irving played in Miller’s strongside linebacker spot in the Broncos’ base defense the rest of the way Sunday. In some of their pass-rush packages, the Broncos played defensive end Robert Ayers opposite Phillips. Ayers finished the game with a sack. Irving and Ayers would keep similar roles moving forward. Denver (12-3) closes its regular season against the Oakland Raiders (4-11) and will earn home-field advantage in the AFC with a victory. The Broncos clinched the AFC West and a first-round playoff bye with the win over the Texans. “People get sick of hearing me say it, but it’s next man up, literally,” Fox said after the game. “Nate Irving stepped in and did a very good job. Our team has been that way the whole season — doesn’t matter what phase of the game it is, even me taking a leave of absence [heart surgery] for four weeks.”
This is obviously a huge injury for the Denver Broncos, in the playoffs you need to be able to pressure the starting quarterback, and that will be a lot harder for the Broncos to do without their best pass rusher. 2013 was a lost season for Miller, who was a First-Team All-Pro in 2012, due to legal issues and now this injury. Hopefully Miller continues to mature, recovers from his legal issues and this knee injury, and gets what looked to be such a promising career a year ago back on track.