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Mike Tomlin: Sean Spence will “have a full recovery” from knee injury

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Last week, Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler suggested Sean Spence, the club’s 2012 third-round pick, might never play again after suffering a serious knee injury last summer, with Butler saying it would be “miraculous” if Spence were to come back in 2013 or 2014.

However, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said Saturday he’s optimistic about the prospect of a return for Spence.

“I did hear the opinion regarding Spence,” Tomlin said, according to the Steelers. “My opinion differs. I think he’s going to have a full recovery, but now you have two opinions, neither of which are expert medical opinions. Do with it what you wish.”

In his remarks last week, Butler called Spence a “great kid” who merited an opportunity to stay with the club as he worked to return to the field, and Butler also expressed some hope that Spence could possibly return.

“He’s not only a very intelligent football player but he is going to provide some intangibles in our locker room that we desperately need, I think,” Butler said, according a transcript from the club. “We’re going to ride with him for another year, I think. Hopefully his knee will respond and he can play again.”

This much is clear: the Steelers would very much like Spence to make a comeback, and they believe there is value to having him around the club. On Saturday, Tomlin noted that the injury rehabilitation for Spence, tight end Heath Miller (knee) and Marcus Gilbert (ankle) “is going according to plan.”

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13 Responses to “Mike Tomlin: Sean Spence will “have a full recovery” from knee injury”
  1. green41563 says: May 4, 2013 8:34 PM

    If Lattimore is considered a lock to come back after *that* injury, I can’t even imagine what this one looked like.

  2. Stiller43 says: May 4, 2013 9:54 PM

    Reportedly, the coaching staff was in love with his ability during training camp last year. This would be great for both the Steelers and Sean’s personal health. Hope tomlins right!

  3. st1llerz1 says: May 4, 2013 10:53 PM

    I’ve seen a few interviews with Spence since his injury. He’s working hard to make it back to the field and is full of confidence.

    It’s crazy how quickly a young man’s career path can change on what seemed to be a misstep.

    I wish him well as he continues the long road back to good health.


  4. scoobies05 says: May 4, 2013 11:35 PM

    good to hear. rivalries aside you never want to see a player go down with an injury. good luck to spence

  5. therealpittbull says: May 4, 2013 11:38 PM

    This is simply Tomlin and the organization trying to keep everything in house. Wait, its out isn’t it? Now it isn’t.

    This keeps other teams and the media guessing as to what the real prospects are for Spence, and the teams plans at the linebacker position. One thing that Steelers have done well over the years, is ensuring that all cards are played close to the vest. Think about it, what have you heard about Heath Miller? Nothing. Butler made a mistake and Tomlin is cleaning it up.

  6. jtm12180 says: May 5, 2013 12:57 AM

    Spence had significant nerve damage, Lattimore had none. That’s the main difference here

  7. thesteelers says: May 5, 2013 1:18 AM

    God’s team

  8. blackngold4life says: May 5, 2013 1:47 AM

    Butler should have never said that to begin with..How u think it made that kid feel? Bad move..he coulda said the same thing Tomlin said..even if he DIDN’T believe it himself.

  9. jjljr says: May 5, 2013 2:08 AM

    I’m a big Mike Tomlin fan, but I seem to have forgotten where he went to med school …

  10. lovefootball4life says: May 5, 2013 8:41 AM

    Its the peroneal nerve in the knee plus ACL and other stuff. Do a search on “peroneal Sean spence” and you’ll get an article. A RB had it, took years to recover but his career was all but over. Apparently Colbert said the same thing back in Feb that Butler said in April. Really sucks to have a huge future in danger.

  11. 1mommicked1 says: May 5, 2013 8:43 AM

    are championships won in the locker room or on the field.

  12. eleventyeight says: May 5, 2013 11:39 AM

    Spence may have been the single most important pick the Steelers have made in several years and was right on schedule to step into Farrior’s shoes only with a LOT more speed and similar intelligence and determination.

    If he isn’t able to recover I , as a diehard Steelers fan, hate to admit that we will have a GREAT deal of trouble filling that spot.

    There were a couple guys in this draft but the FO ignored who might have been able to fill in…

    This will be a sink-or-swim year in SteelersNation- 10-6 or 6-10 imho.

    I hope all the best for Spence and especially for Heath Miller.

  13. Deb says: May 5, 2013 6:12 PM

    jjljr says:

    I’m a big Mike Tomlin fan, but I seem to have forgotten where he went to med school …

    He went to the same med school Keith Butler attended–as Mike pointed out in his comment. Butler’s the one who had no business publicly writing off Spence when the kid is working his heart out trying to rehab. As Tomlin said, they should leave the prognosticating to the medical professionals–although doctors aren’t gods, either.

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