BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Lots of questions linger following Wednesday’s announcement that Bills star linebacker Von Miller will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL, an injury he suffered on Thanksgiving in Detroit.

Miller, 33 and in the first year of a six-year, $120 million deal with the Bills, had surgery earlier this week.

Dr. Ted Szarzanowicz, an orthopedic surgeon with Trinity Medical Orthopedics, joined News 4 at 4 on Thursday to discuss that surgery and Miller’s road to recovery.

When Miller first suffered the injury on Thanksgiving, it was believed to be minor damage that would not end Miller’s season. In fact, Miller had said on his podcast that he had hoped to play in this Sunday’s game against the New York Jets.

“On examination when he first got injured, probably the majority of his symptoms were along the outer part of his knee,” Dr. Szarzanowicz said. “Early on, the knee felt stable according to what the reports were and it was very optimistic that there was potentially no damage or minor damage to that graft he had from years before. Unfortunately, I guess when they did the operative surgery, they noted there was more than what they had hoped for.”

The ACL tear was discovered during what is called exploratory surgery, which is designed for when doctors want to get inside of a body in order to help make a diagnosis.

“You talk about it ahead of time, saying ‘hey, we’re going to evaluate what your graft looks like.’ If there’s more damage than we think is feasible for the position you play, he’s an elite athlete, with all of the cutting and pivoting that he does, if that graft isn’t good enough, then something might need to be done,” Dr. Szarzanowicz said.

Now, the focus shifts to recovery. This is the second time that Miller has suffered a torn ACL, doing so at the end of the 2013 season when he was a member of the Denver Broncos. That injury came in the second to last game of the season so he only missed one game, returning in time for the start of the 2014 season.

Dr. Szarzanowicz said that due to this being his second ACL surgery, it may take him about a year to return, similar to Tre’Davious White, who also took a year to return from a torn ACL suffered last season.

“Overall, nationwide, the rehab process for this has gotten much more conservative, as you’ve seen with his teammate, that’s more of the norm these days. Theoretically, second time around, that is what I would expect,” he said. “He’s got an amazing staff to work with, he’s an amazing specimen of an athlete, so the likelihood of him getting back to where he wants to be is probably pretty high.”

You can watch the full interview above.

Aidan Joly joined the News 4 staff in 2022. He is a graduate of Canisius College. You can see more of his work here.