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Miller "progressing well" following surgery


Bears coach John Fox reported Tuesday that Zach Miller is "progressing well" less than 48 hours after the tight end underwent emergency vascular surgery on his left leg Sunday night.

Miller had the procedure at the University Medical Center in New Orleans to repair a torn popliteal artery in his left leg he sustained during Sunday's loss to the Saints.

The eighth-year pro dislocated his left knee while catching an apparent 25-yard touchdown pass from Mitchell Trubisky that was later reversed to an incomplete pass following a replay review.

Bears doctors are being credited with helping to save Miller's leg by quickly diagnosing a vascular issue that required immediate attention. He was rushed by ambulance from the Mercedes Superdome to the University Medical Center, where he remains hospitalized.

Asked whether Miller also suffered nerve damage, Fox said: "The initial concern was the artery. I didn't hear much other than that, so from a prognosis standpoint, I don't want to delve too deep. But that was a big concern and they addressed it, and like I said he's progressing well."


Bears tight end Zach Miller before the Saints game.

Stepping in: The Bears are hoping that recently-acquired receiver Dontrelle Inman helps fill the void created by Miller's absence both on and the field.

"He's a veteran player," Fox said. "We lost a guy in Zach Miller who was kind of that for us, not just as a player but as a veteran guy that understands pro football. I think Dontrelle brings that to us. I've seen that. The coaches have seen that already.

"Now it's just learning a new language, one he's adjusted to quickly before, so there doesn't appear to be an issue. He's a long guy, has length, a catch radius, and experience, something we're not overflowing with right now. So he'll definitely help us based on what I saw today."

The Bears acquired Inman from the Chargers last week in exchange for a conditional draft pick. He was inactive last Sunday in New Orleans after practicing only once with his new teammates.

Takeaway time: At the midpoint of the season, the Bears have already matched their takeaway output from all of last season with 11. Eight of the takeaways have come in the last three games.

"It's just kind of that depth and that experience I'm talking about," Fox said. "Guys play faster when they know what they're doing. If you're a racecar driver, it takes a minute to get used to the track. The more you're used to it, the faster you can go.

"I know it's kind of a strange analogy, but just try to make it make sense. As a little kid driving somewhere for the first time, it felt like it took forever to get there. When you knew what to expect on the way home, it seemed faster. So you get faster in what you do."

The Bears have won the turnover battle in three straight games for the first time since their final three contests in 2012. They won it a total of three times all of last year.

In the building: Receiver Kevin White was back at Halas Hall Tuesday, but Fox said the Bears have "not really seriously discussed" reinstating the 2015 first-round pick from injured reserve.

White suffered a serious injury for the third time in as many years with the Bears when he fractured his scapula Sept. 10 in the season opener against the Falcons.

"He's back in the building," Fox said. "He's been in meetings. He's spent time with the players. I think those things are important. Even just watching, sometimes watching other people do it, even though it's not your experience, I think you can learn from other people's mistakes or you can learn just by watching. You get a better understanding.

"He's in the building. [But] we haven't really discussed seriously at this point about if he can come back or when. But he's eligible."

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