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While the early reports on Von Miller's ankle injury indicated his season was over, the Pro Bowl defensive end has not given up hope on returning in 2020, sources said, and is working daily with the Broncos to that end. Miller suffered a freak injury at practice just before the season began, with his ankle ligaments flipping out of place, and essentially rolling over the ankle itself. Specialists estimated that the injury would generally be four to six months, the sources said, but Miller has been researching how other athletes have recovered from it and some soccer players have returned in three months (although they obviously have a different body type and carry far less weight).

Miller, who has told teammates he believes a mid-December return is possible, is hopeful of playing meaningful games for the team this year.

"It may be a longshot, but you never know with Von," said one source with knowledge of the situation. "He is a freak athlete, and he is very focused on doing everything he can to get back in December."

Of course, if the Broncos are not in position to compete for a playoff spot, it's virtually certain Miller will not play one snap this season, but his coaches and teammates are remaining optimistic that they could get a boost from the future Hall of Famer in the final weeks. Miller is a fixture around the team, trying to help his teammates however possible, sources said, and will remain in a cast or boot for eight weeks before transitioning to football activities. That second recovery period would generally last another eight weeks.

The Broncos have an option on Miller for 2021 worth $17.5 million. He had worked himself into the best shape of his life this summer, intent on improving on his 2019 output. Miller has told teammates he believes he has at least another five to six seasons left in him.