Von Miller was confident he was going to have a big game on Thursday night against the Browns. But, after spraining his ankle, he didn't even make it until halftime.
"My pride is hurt more than anything," he said. "I talked a lot of s--- before this game."
There is good news after a grim night though. An X-ray revealed that there is no structural damage, and Miller expects to be back on Oct. 31 when the Broncos host the Washington Football Team. The pain is already starting to go away, he said, but they will do an MRI on Friday morning to make sure they aren't missing anything.
"I feel like I dodged a bullet," Miller said.
Miller collided with teammate Dre'Mont Jones with about a minute left in the first half. He was attended to by trainers on the field and was able to limp off gingerly on his own power. He headed straight to the medical tent and later to the locker room.
He thought he could toughen it out and finish the game. Miller tested it out, but it was still tender on the inside, so the medical staff held him out.
"I didn't want to put any pressure on it at first. ... I thought I had a chance to go back out," he said.
It was the second blow of the night to the Broncos defense, as Micah Kiser suffered a groin injury in the first quarter on and was also not able to return.
This isn't the first ankle injury for Miller, the longest-tenured player on the team. The All-Pro linebacker suffered a dislocated peroneal tendon in his ankle in practice last season and missed the entire 2020 season. That was on the outside of his ankle, and Thursday night's injury was on the inside.
Miller started the season off strong, with four sacks, six tackles for loss and six quarterback hits in the first three games of the season, all of which they won. Then his production dipped.
Miller had two tackles in the first half against the Browns before the injury, then had to watch as the Broncos dropped their fourth straight game.
"I feel like I was on my way to doing some great things in the second half," he said. "Hats off to those guys. They had a lot of key screens. ... We just weren't able to get off the field on third down."