Steelers coach Mike Tomlin indicated this afternoon that tight end Heath Miller is close to being activated from the physically-unable-to-perform list. Miller, who tore three ligaments in his right knee in the 15th game of last season against the Cincinnati Bengals, must be activated to the 53-man roster by 6 p.m. Saturday if he is to play before the sixth week of the season.
"He's doing great," Tomlin said. "He really is. We'll look more hard-core at him when we get back from Carolina, obviously, but the fact that I mentioned his name would give an indication that things are progressing and progressing nicely."
Miller is one of only four players who have been ruled out for the final preseason game Thursday night in Carolina. The others are running backs Le'Veon Bell and Isaac Redman and rookie linebacker Jarvis Jones. All other injured players have a chance to play.
All indications have been that Miller will be activated by 6 p.m. Saturday. That doesn't mean he would play in the Sept. 8 regular-season opener against the Titans, but it would allow him to practice with his teammates and test his knee in a more vigorous manner. The Steelers play four consecutive games to start the season before their bye week.
Miller said he has not talked with Tomlin or his doctors about when he will be removed from the PUP list.
"I have no clue," Miller said. "I haven't had that conversation. You'll have to ask coach that. He may have a better answer than me at this point."
Miller has been working with strength and conditioning coaches since the start of training camp. He said the hardest part has been the final weeks of his rehabilitation.
"It's long," Miller said. "I think the hardest part is probably the ending part. I try not to get caught up too much in how long I've been doing it and stay strong mentally."
Ray Fittipaldo: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @rayfitt1. First Published August 27, 2013 6:00 PM