Injury-prone Miller lost for season
After tight end Zach Miller punctuated his impressive training camp with a pair of touchdowns in a 6-catch, 68-yard preseason opener, it looked as if the Bears had yet another weapon in their already-potent offensive arsenal.
Now, not so much.
Miller is done for the season after he was placed on injured reserve late Friday afternoon with a left foot injury that included ligament damage. The latest setback for the injury-prone veteran occurred in the second quarter of the Bears' 20-19 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night at Soldier Field.
NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported that Miller suffered a Lisfranc injury, which involves ligaments in the mid-foot. According to American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, a Lisfranc injury occurs if bones in the mid-foot are broken or ligaments that support the mid-foot are torn.
By any definition, Miller's bad luck with injuries means he'll be off the field for a third consecutive regular season. And his loss is the latest blow to a Bears receiving corps that once appeared deep but now has been stretched thin.
Marquess Wilson, who seemed destined to become an integral part of the offensive attack as the No. 3 wide receiver, is out for at least several more weeks with a fractured clavicle. Former Canadian Football League star wideout Chris Williams has been sidelined with a hamstring injury since Aug. 6.
The 5-foot-8, 174-pound Williams was also expected to bolster a kick-return game that has been dreadful through the first two preseason games.
Tight end Dante Rosario, who was competing with Miller for the top backup job behind Martellus Bennett, missed Thursday's game with a calf injury.
Miller, who turns 30 in October, was not on an NFL roster last season. He spent the entire 2012 season on injured reserve with the Jaguars, and he played in only four games in 2011. He has battled back from injuries to his calf, chest, knee and shoulder in addition to a previous foot injury.
But Miller didn't appear to have missed a beat throughout training camp and the first preseason game.
"He had an excellent camp," said Bears coach Marc Trestman. "Things transitioned from the practice field to the games over the last couple weeks. That was clear. And we were certainly excited about what we saw."
With Miller and Rosario out, 6-foot-4, 270-pound Matthew Mulligan, the Bears' best blocking tight end, stepped up. He had a team-best 4 catches against the Jaguars for 39 yards, showcasing his underrated receiving ability.
"We've seen his speed in practice," Trestman said. "We've seen his ability to run vertically up the field and make plays, which showed up (Thursday) night, and it's showed up in practice. He's shown good hands and good speed, besides his ability to block at the point of attack."
Miller's roster spot was filled by the signing of wide receiver Kofi Hughes. The 6-foot, 215-pound rookie originally signed in May with Washington after going undrafted. He had 132 receptions for 1,956 yards (14.8-yard average) and 13 touchdowns at Indiana, where he started 31 games for the Hoosiers.