Von Miller

Buffalo Bills linebacker Von Miller (40) rushes against Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. (57) during the first half Oct. 19 in Kansas City, Mo.

ORCHARD PARK — The Buffalo Bills' hopes of having Von Miller back in time for the playoffs were dashed after exploratory surgery revealed the injury to the top pass rusher's right knee was worse than previously anticipated.

Coach Sean McDermott opened his news conference on Wednesday announcing Miller will miss the rest of the season after having surgery to repair damage to his anterior cruciate ligament. McDermott did not go into detail on the extent of the injury except to say the damage was discovered during a previously scheduled exploratory surgery, which was conducted on Tuesday in Texas.

"Very unfortunate situation for Von obviously and our team," McDermott said. "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. ... And we're certainly thinking about him as he recovers here."

Miller previously revealed the injury was limited to a tear in his lateral meniscus.

Shortly after McDermott's announcement, Miller posted a video on Twitter in which he filmed from what appeared to be his hospital bed.

"I'm good, man. I'll be right back. Mentally, I couldn't be in a better spot," Miller said, in addressing Bills fans. "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 teammates how tough I am, how hard I work,and how important that this means to me, man."

Miller then closed by saying, "All love and respect" before adding the phrase, "Don't blink, baby," which he and Bills receiver Stefon Diggs have repeatedly used during times of adversity this season.

Miller has missed one game since being hurt in the first half of a 28-25 win over Detroit on Thanksgiving.

Miller was hurt while he was pushing his way through the right side of the Lions' line when his knee bent awkwardly at the same time center Frank Ragnow stepped on Miller's right ankle.

The news is a major setback for the AFC-leading Bills (9-3), who placed Miller on injured reserve last week with the expectation he would be able to return in a month after initial tests showed no damage to the player's ACL.

The Bills have won three straight and host their AFC East rival New York Jets (7-5) on Sunday.

The Bills made a major splash in March by upgrading their middling pass rush by signing Miller to a six-year contract in free agency. The 33-year-old Miller is the NFL's active leader in sacks with 123 1/2 and he leads the Bills with eight sacks this season.

Miller is a two-time Super Bowl champion, who signed with Buffalo a little more than a month after helping the Los Angeles Rams win the title by beating Cincinnati. Miller spent his first 10-plus years in Denver before being traded to Los Angeles last season.

Miller's impact has been apparent both on the field in upgrading Buffalo's pass rush, which ranks 14th in sacks per pass, and in a leadership role. Miller was voted a team captain in September.

Miller sustained a similar injury to the same knee in 2013. He also missed the entire 2020 season with an ankle injury.

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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