Broncos rookie Miller questionable after thumb surgery

Rookie pass-rusher Von Miller is itching to give a helping hand to the Denver Broncos' playoff push, even if that means playing with a cumbersome cast protecting his surgically repaired right thumb.

"I've just got to block it out," Miller said. "I went in there on a couple plays today and stuck it in there. It didn't feel too bad. I'm feeling pretty confident about everything."

Miller is listed as questionable for Sunday's game at Minnesota after practicing Friday for the first time this week. He wore a hard cast that goes up to his forearm and covers his thumb but leaves his fingers exposed.

"It's different, but it's still not going to change the way I play the game,"  said Miller, who downplayed any effect it would have on his tackling. "I'm still going to have fanatical effort and pursuit to the ball."

Coach John Fox said Miller's status will be determined before kickoff, the same as receiver-returner Eddie Royal (toe). Both got hurt at San Diego last weekend. Running back Willis McGahee (illness) is probable after returning to practice in full on Friday.

Miller, who was named the NFL's Rookie of the Month in November, was injured during the fourth quarter of last week's win over San Diego but stayed in after getting taped up and helped the Broncos win in overtime to complete an unprecedented November road sweep of their AFC West rivals.

"Adrenaline was pumping and the game was so close I didn't even let it factor into whether I was going to play or not," Miller said. "I wanted to go out there in overtime. I hurt it the second (to last) play of regulation, before overtime. I went to overtime and just blocked it out."

Miller told reporters Monday the injury wasn't serious but he later learned he had torn ligaments and needed surgery. If Miller does sit on Sunday, veteran linebacker Mario Haggan will take his place.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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