Miller needed vascular surgery to repair a damaged artery as a result of the injury, grafting tissue from his right leg, according to ESPN.
On Wednesday, the former tight end told Jay Cutler on the ex-quarterback’s podcast doctors were close to amputating his leg. He gave the gruesome details of how his leg looked before he was even on his way to the hospital
“Obviously, I’ve been down the injury road before, so I figured I tore my ACL. That’s what the immediate thought was. (My leg) went out. My femur, when it goes to dislocate, my femur caught on the top of my tibia and got stuck. I broke the top of my tibia and popped back up. That doesn’t happen, I would’ve went out and my leg would’ve just been like … dangling,” Miller said on “Uncut with Jay Cutler.” “So it pops back in. I just thought I tore my ACL. I didn’t know the severity of it. I didn’t know the dislocation until I’m on the stretcher and they’re oohing and awing and everybody’s saying ‘hey man,’ giving me well wishes, patting me on the back.”
Miller said his foot was “blue” and his leg blew up to where his quad was the same size all the way down the leg. He said when he was finally put into the ambulance he was “nervous” and started to go into panic mode when he started to lose feeling in his leg.
Chicago Bears tight end Zach Miller (86) injures his leg as pulls in a touchdown reception that was ruled incomplete upon review as New Orleans Saints defensive back Rafael Bush (25) covers in the second half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) (AP Photo/Butch Dill))
The doctors were close to amputating Miller’s leg, he said.
“Yeah, I mean the window they told me like seven to 10 minutes because my tissue had started to die already. I had been without blood flow for a decent amount of time – over an hour and longer before we got into surgery. At that point when you don’t have blood flow or oxygen to get to your tissue it starts to die and once it starts to die it gets to a certain point you can’t save it and the next best thing is you got to lop it off and save the rest of your body or else everything will go.”
Miller said he was urging doctors, “don’t cut my damn leg off.”
“It was hectic to say the least.”
The game against the Saints would be the last of Miller’s career. Later that year, he posted a video of himself in a leg brace just starting to walk again. But he would never play in the NFL again.
In his short six-year career, Miller managed to play in 66 games and catch 146 passes for 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns.