HOUSTON -- One of the reasons running back Lamar Miller chose to sign with the Houston Texans during the offseason is because he knew he would get the ball. In his four seasons with the Miami Dolphins, he averaged 12.4 touches per game. In 13 games this season, he is averaging 21.1.
"I know in the past couple years they used to give their running backs the ball and that's one of the decisions that I made," Miller said. "I just want to show everybody that I'm able to carry the load and just try to make plays."
And while Miller has been an every down back for the Texans in his first season in Houston, his body has taken a pounding. Texans coach Bill O'Brien said he gives Miller credit for playing through injuries in four different parts of his body right now.
Miller sustained one of his biggest injuries this season when he injured his right shoulder in Week 7 against the Broncos. He has been on the injury report with injuries to his shoulder, ankle and ribs since that game.
"This part of the season, I'm pretty sure everybody is dinged up or beat up," Miller said. "It's all about just being there for your teammates, getting treatment and just treating your body for the most part.
"[You] just do it for your teammates and just for this organization. I'm here to win games. Every Sunday, I just try to do my best to help this team any way that's possible."
Despite the injuries, Miller has run for 903 yards and three touchdowns on 225 carries. He also has 28 catches for 147 yards and a touchdown.
"I just have always marveled and had a ton of respect for the guys that push through and understand the difference between pain and injury and understand what their role means to the team and understand basically the fact that they would do anything to play," O'Brien said.
"Win or lose, we all know how important it is to win but just the amount of respect I have for those guys that put it out there every week and do whatever they've got to do to help the team win based on how they feel. I think it's pretty incredible."
Miller already has set career highs for touches in a season with four games left in the regular season. O'Brien said he has seen Miller stay sharp on and off the field during what has physically been a difficult season.
"He's a very tough guy," O'Brien said. "He's a pro's pro. He shows up every day. He's got a very workmen-like approach to his job. He's attentive in meetings. He rarely makes a mistake out on the field. Very dependable player.
"A guy that plays when he's banged up. Plays when he probably doesn't really feel like playing or practicing. That's the mark of a really good pro and he's brought a lot to our team. We're really happy to have him."