Bears TE Zach Miller opens up about injury: ‘Save my leg, please'

Over a month after tearing a major artery and receiving urgent surgery on his leg, Zach Miller opened up about his injury in an emotional interview.

"I just remember telling Doc, 'Save my leg, please,'" the tight end told Bears play-by-play announcer Jeff Joniak in a video shared by the team on Friday.

After the Oct. 29 injury when the popliteal artery in his left leg was damaged on a potential touchdown catch, Miller spent 23 days both in New Orleans and Chicago hospitals recovering from vascular surgery to save his leg from amputation. He left a Chicago-area hospital on Nov. 20.

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“I knew it was pretty severe,” Miller said. “But I wasn’t in pain. I was actually calm. When Nate (Breske), our head trainer, got there, I remember looking at him, I was grabbing my facemask, and I told him, I said, ‘My knee is gone, bro.’ I could tell something was different.

The most gruesome sports injuries in recent memory

“I think just the first couple of days were the worst, just trying to understand it,” he added. “Once I realized, all right, worrying about that, wondering why, the what-ifs aren’t going to help. I’ve got to be able to accept it, and that was good.”

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Chicago Bears' Zach Miller suffers gruesome leg injury on overturned touchdown
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Chicago Bears' Zach Miller suffers gruesome leg injury on overturned touchdown
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 29: Rafael Bush #25 of the New Orleans Saints breaks up a pass to Zach Miller #86 of the Chicago Bears during the third quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 29, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Oct 29, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; Chicago Bears tight end Zach Miller (86) suffers a gruesome leg injury attempting a catch while defended by New Orleans Saints defensive back Rafael Bush (25) during the second half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 29, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; Chicago Bears tight end Zach Miller (86) is defended by New Orleans Saints safety Rafael Bush (25) on a play in the end zone. Miller was injured on the play and after a review the ruling of a touchdown catch was overturned during the second half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Bears 20-12. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears tight end Zach Miller (86) is unable to retain control of the ball on a pass in the end zone in the third quarter of a game against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La. Miller was injured on the play. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
Chicago Bears tight end Zach Miller (86) suffers an injury as he is unable to retain control of the ball on a pass in the end zone in the third quarter of a game against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 29: Zach Miller #86 of the Chicago Bears is holds his left knee after sustaining an injury during the third quarter against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 29, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 29: Zach Miller #86 of the Chicago Bears is helped off the field after sustaining an injury during the third quarter against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 29, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 29: A detail view of Nike shoes worn by Zach Miller #86 of the Chicago Bears during the third quarter against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 29, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 29: Zach Miller #86 of the Chicago Bears is carted off the field after sustaining an injury during the third quarter against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 29, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears tight end Zach Miller (86) holds his leg as he is carted off the field following his injury during the second half of their game against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
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With a long recovery ahead of him, Miller said he has been overwhelmed with the support of his family, the entire Bears organization, and his followers on social media. He also mentioned his daily inspiration, Alex Ruiz, a high school player who suffered an injury similar to Miller's just weeks before on Oct. 6. Ruiz is facing amputation and considering a prosthetic foot after his medical diagnosis.

"If I didn’t have the care that I had, all that stuff, I could very easily be in his shoes, and I feel bad for him, a little bit of guilt, but he helps me,” Miller said of Ruiz. “He’s a special kid. He gets me through every day. He told me he’s not going to let it ruin his life, which is uplifting.

“If he can accept that, you can really get through everything.”

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