While many of us are already resigned to fact that Pittsburgh Steelers second-year linebacker Sean Spence will not play in 2013 because of the serious knee injury that he suffered last year during the preseason, the Miami product let be known on Wednesday that we shouldn\'t be ruling him out just yet.
According to Will Graves of the Associated Press on Twitter, Spence told reporters Wednesday that he expects to play in 2013 and that his surgically repaired left knee is on the way back.
"My plan is to make it back for the season," said Spence. I\'m still preparing and attacking these OTAs like I\'m going to play this year. I probably will take things slow, but I have trust myself in doing what I know I can do. And if I think I can go, I\'ll go."
Spence reportedly suffered enough damage to the peroneal nerve in his left knee last year in the exhibition game against the Carolina Panthers that linebackers coach Keith Butler went as far as to say during the draft that he didn\'t think the Steelers 2012 third-round draft pick would play at all this year.
"It will be miraculous if he does come back," said Butler back in late April. "It will be miraculous if he comes back next year. We are going to take a chance on him and see if he can come back. To me, he is worth every bit of that."
However, since Butler made his comments about Spence\'s future, both head coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert have shown much more optimism when talking about the linebackers recovery.
“Sean is progressing," said Colbert, during a conference call with season-ticket holders a few weeks ago. "When you have as serious a knee injury as he unfortunately had, it sometimes is a very long process. Sometimes it takes over a year to fully rehabilitate But the good thing is we are seeing signs of progress, albeit small steps. But it is progress.
"Sean’s attitude is off the charts. He wants to rehab. He wants to be a great player. He is working hard to get there. He is making small progress, and as long as he is making progress, we will be patient with him and hopefully get him back at full speed at some point."
Spence is of course nowhere ready to practice just yet and isn\'t expected to be ready by the start of the season. The Steelers more than likely will place him on the Reserve PUP list at the start of the season with the hope that he can begin practicing after the first six weeks of the regular season.
Should Spence be unable to start practicing within the first nine weeks of the season, he will need to placed on injured reserve.
Should the Steelers get anything out of Spence in 2013, it would be very uplifting. You hate to see any young player have his career end before it even starts, so we will all have to continue to keep our fingers crossed for him.