Bills pass-rusher Von Miller put on IR with knee injury

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Buffalo Bills have placed pass-rusher Von Miller on injured reserve with a knee injury, hours before the team's Thursday night win against the New England Patriots.

Miller will miss at least four games after suffering lateral meniscus damage to his right knee, per Miller, during the team's win over the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving. The team's hope, per general manager Brandon Beane in a pool report, is that he will be able to return this season. Putting him on injured reserve before Thursday night's game allows it to count toward the minimum four games he must miss.

"He's been doing treatment and trying to rehab it," Beane said. "We don't want to rush him back, and he's a competitor. That's why we love him. That's why he's so great. The competitor in him -- if he could wheel it out there tonight, he would do it. We just think in talking to the medical people that the best decision right now is to give this time, and that gives him the best opportunity to help us down the stretch."

McDermott said after the game that they want to be "smart" with Miller.

The team also elevated practice squad wide receiver John Brown to the active roster for Thursday's game. Brown re-signed with the team on Saturday. He previously was in Buffalo for the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

The Bills on Thursday began a three-game stretch against three AFC East opponents and with the 24-10 win, they moved to 1-2 in the division. The earliest Miller could return is Week 17 against the Cincinnati Bengals.

"Knowing that Von is still around, and his personality is still around, that's just as good as him being out there on the field if you ask me," defensive tackle Ed Oliver said.

Although the defense will be without the team's sack leader in Miller for a key stretch, defensive ends AJ Epenesa and Greg Rousseau returned from ankle injuries against the Patriots. Without Miller, the Bills were able to generate significant pressure without blitzing against quarterback Mac Jones and a struggling New England offense. Jones averaged just 4.3 yards per attempt against four or fewer pass rushers, his fewest in a game with at least 10 attempts. He was also pressured on 39.5% of dropbacks, the second-highest of his career.

"It's really just, it's that time where they call our number," Epenesa said after the game. "They call all four of us, all four defensive edge rush guys [Epenesa, Rousseau, Boogie Basham and Shaq Lawson]. It's our time in the season. It's time for us to step up. It's our opportunity to make plays, and I know the four of us are gonna make the most of it. So, we're looking forward to this next couple weeks."

Miller had said on his podcast Tuesday that he was hopeful he would be able to return for the team's game against the New York Jets next week.

"I do have some lateral meniscus damage, and it's going to have to be addressed," Miller said on the podcast. "But I do feel like I can, you know, play through that, so I'm just gonna wait a little bit, and let the swelling go down for about seven to 10 days and, hopefully, right before the Jets game I will be back."

Miller ranks third in the NFL in quarterback pressures (38) behind Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons (46) and Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon (39). No other Bills player has more than 12 pressures, with Miller's 216 pressure gap the largest in the NFL this season. Miller leads the Bills in sacks (eight), pass rush win rate (23.7%) and pressure percentage (14.6%).

"If I'm out there, you know that I'm ready to go and I feel totally confident," Miller said.