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Miller's bum thumb requires surgery; Broncos hope he'll play

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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Batman might have to go it alone.

Elvis Dumervil's sidekick, rookie linebacker Von Miller, missed practice Wednesday after undergoing a surgical procedure to repair a strained ligament in his right thumb, which he hurt during last weekend's overtime victory at San Diego.

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Although the Broncos are confident Miller will be able to play Sunday at Minnesota, if they choose a more cautious approach for the stretch run, they'd be without half of their 1-2 pass-rushing punch against the Vikings.

Even if Miller, who has dubbed the duo "Batman and Robin," does play, he'll be affected, Dumervil said.

"The thumb is crucial," Dumervil said. "I mean, I had a pinkie injury a couple of years ago, and as a rusher, you need your hands. It's very important. But I'm sure he'll fight through it and get healthy soon so we can get him back."

Mario Haggan, one of Miller's mentors, figures to take over the rookie's snaps whenever he's on the sideline. But fellow linebacker Wesley Woodyard is confident Miller won't be in street clothes Sunday.

"I'm sure he'll be able to tough it out and be able to play," Woodyard said of Miller, whose 10.5 sacks are only one shy of Rulon Jones' team record, set in 1980. "For him using his hands rushing the passer, that's something that is going to be really tough for him to get used to. But he's a tough guy, and he'll be able to work through it."

Miller, the No. 2 overall pick in this year's draft, stayed in the game at San Diego despite his injury and made the play of the day when he stuffed Chargers running back Mike Tolbert for a 4-yard loss just before Nick Novak missed a 53-yard field-goal attempt that would have won it.

Broncos running back Willis McGahee (ankle, hamstring) and wide receiver Eddie Royal (ankle) also missed practice Wednesday, according to The Denver Post. Coach John Fox said McGahee missed practice because of an illness.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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