ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --Sunday, the Broncos officially locked up the AFC West and a first-round bye in the playoffs.
But they'll have to win the rest of the way without arguably their best defensive player.
Linebacker Von Miller has a torn ACL and will miss the remainder of the 2013 season.
"It's definitely going to be a blow," Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway said on his Elway Access podcast. "But I think that we've done a good job of handling adversity throughout the year. This is another bump in the road for us. Obviously Von is a big part of that defense, but I think that we were able to win six games when he wasn't available, so we'll have to pick it up for him. I feel bad for Von, because Von has done a lot of work to get back to where he is and was starting to hit his stride late in the year."
To that point, Miller had 34 tackles, five sacks, eight quarterback hits, nine tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and a pass defensed in just nine games this season. He missed the first six games of the year due to suspension.
Miller injured his knee midway through the first quarter at Houston, when Texans tight end Ryan Griffin helped block the linebacker as he began to run his route. The third-down play was Miller's last of the game -- he was held out of the remainder of the contest.
"Unfortunately, when you have those types of injuries, you can't control those," Elway said. "It wasn't anything that was a late hit, it wasn't even really a hit, it was just sometimes when you tear those ACLs, it's unfortuante the fact of where you step when you get hit at the same time, and that was kind of really what happened to Von."
Miller was Denver's highest-rated defensive player this season, according to Pro Football Focus. Defensive linemen Terrance Knighton and Malik Jackson are numbers two and three, respectively.
The silver lining to the news is that Elway said the type of injury Miller sustained should aid in his rehab.
"I think it was just only the ACL, so it should make for a full recovery," he said.
After Sunday's win, Head Coach John Fox was asked about potentially adjusting to life without Miller for the rest of the season.
"People get sick of hearing me say it, but it is next man up, literally," Fox said. "Nate Irving stepped in and did a very good job (at Houston). Our team has been that way for the whole season. Doesn't matter what phase of the game it is -- even me taking a leave of absence for four weeks."