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Roy Miller’s rapid return leaves Timbers with unfamiliar feeling of center back depth

Miller played competitive minutes just eight months after rupturing his achilles

Bennett Dewan

When Roy Miller ruptured his Achilles tendon in November, the expectation was the Costa Rican international would spend the entirety of the 2018 season working through a painful, and lengthy recovery. So when Giovanni Savarese teased news of Miller making a full recovery after only eight months, there were doubters.

Those doubters were effectively silenced when Roy Miller, eight months removed from injury, went for 62 minutes for T2 last Sunday.

“I think he still needs to develop and grow, get some strength,” Saverese said of Miller, adding: “but he’s doing very well. But we need to be patient with him because he’s a little bit up and down.”

”I really feel good,” Miller said to Stumptown Footy following training on Thursday. Miller didn’t cut any corners, but said he was not going to step out there until he was 100% percent.

Miller’s recovery was all very “gradual” listening to doctors and not pushing his body to do more than it could. At six months, Roy surprised some when he was able to begin jumping. But no one expected the 33-year-old center back to be playing in a competitive match eight months after rupturing his Achilles tendon.

There was nothing revolutionary about his treatment, Miller says. The most important part was to, “never go too fast.” Miller pushed himself, but listened to his body. ”I did a little gym,” Miller says, but that most of his recovery came from low impact work done in the pool, most specifically swimming, but conceded, “I don’t do much yoga.”

Originally considered a depth piece who could provide veteran leadership, Miller was a revelation in 2017.

After six seasons with the Red Bulls and two at Saprissa in Costa Rica, Miller’s high soccer IQ and calm demeanor provided a steadying presence on the back line. Miller’s 26 starts were more than any other defender on the Timbers squad in 2017.

With Miller back in the fold, and four other solid center backs on the roster, it seems this will be the first summer since 2015 where Portland didn’t need to plumb through the Summer Transfer to upgrade at the position. Savarese offered no promises saying only, “So far we are very content with what have in that position.”