ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) -- Von Miller was such an athletic freak coming out of Texas A&M that his mentor, former Aggies coach Mike Sherman, joked he probably could have crumpled quarterbacks with one hand tied behind his back.
That's sort of what the Denver Broncos strongside linebacker was forced to do after tearing ligaments in his right thumb last November.
He played the stretch run and the playoffs with a cast that prevented him from grabbing and shedding offensive linemen.
Although he faded toward the finish and was even benched in some situations, the second overall pick in last year's draft went on to win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors and made the Pro Bowl, a validation of John Elway's first big move as the Broncos' boss.
It's only gotten better.