Steelers HC Mike Tomlin Thinks LB Sean Spence Is Going To Have A Full Recovery

The Pittsburgh Steelers wrapped up day two day of their 2013 rookie camp on Saturday and following the practice head coach Mike Tomlin addressed the media on the field.

With the OTA sessions now on the horizon, Tomlin was asked if tight end Heath Miller (knee), linebacker Sean Spence (knee) and tackle Marcus Gilbert (ankle) would be able to participate in them.

“All of the rehab is going according to plan and really no new news there,” said Tomlin. “I did hear the opinion regarding Spence, 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, so do with it what you wish.”

Last weekend, linebackers coach Keith Butler stated during his talk with the media that Spence, who severely injured his left knee last year during the preseason, would more than likely not play in 2013, and that it would be “miraculous” if he ever played again.

Butler did say, however, that the team was likely going to carry Spence one more year, which likely means that he will be placed on injured reserve out of training camp.

Personally, I think Tomlin is doing some damage control here and trying more than anything to send a positive message to Spence instead of a negative one like Butler delivered.

As far as Miller and Gilbert both go, I really doubt Miller will participate in any of the OTA sessions this offseason while Gilbert will likely be session to session.

  • Chris92021

    I do hope Spence recovers, not necessarily for the Steelers’ sake (although that would be nice) but for his own quality of life. I do hope he finished his degree back at the U (or went back to finish like Polamalu and Roethlisberger did during the lockout). Good luck, Spence!

  • westcoasteeler

    I hope there’s no nerve damage.

  • John Hinton

    For what it’s worth, Spence hearing Tomlin’s comments about his recovery has to be uplifting for the young man. I’m sure I speak for the rest of Steeler Nation – we’re all in #51’s corner wanting the best for him on and off the field.

  • mokhkw

    There is to the peroneal nerve. Not good.

  • mokhkw

    As Dave said, it’s likely more to do with Tomlin sending Spence a positive message than anything else. Unfortunately at this stage it’s more likely that Butler is more correct about Spence’s status than Tomlin is.

    Another thing it could be is that the Steelers don’t want to lose any perceived leverage in case they decide to sign a vet LBer in June/July.

  • dgh57

    I would LOVE to get some views from some medical experts, that would help clear things up between these differing opinions!! It is reassuring to hear Tomlins take for everyone involved.

  • Tom

    I did a little “reading up” about the peroneal nerve and “foot drop” Apparently, it’s not unusual for the nerve to take 12-18 months to regenerate. So, from a medical standpoint, I believe it is still simply too early to make any guesses as to whether Spence will be back or not. I think Tomlin was simply taking issue with the gloom and doom opinion expressed by Butler.

    Myself, I had vocal chord nerve damage/impairment after a neck fusion. Took 10-11 months for one of my vocal chords to regenerate and for me to get my voice back…..when most people get theirs back in a matter of days.

  • Stephen Dale

    what Mokhkw said ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

  • SteelerDave

    Exactly. Any nerve regeneration take a minimum 12 months and can take 18 or even 24 or may never fully regenerate all depends on many medical factors and the exact damage of the injury. Regardless of if he ever plays a down for us, I do hope Spence one day makes a full recovery.

  • He said he expects Spence to have a full recovery, he never said he would play.

  • Rosco

    I liked this guy since the beginning and now i want his jersey even if he never plays a down.. It must be humbling to have that much support and it will be a great comeback story!!

  • JohnnyV1

    Nice job Coach Tomlin! Keep the guy’s spirit up and his heart into his rehab. If you believe, you can overcome a great deal. I know I’m rooting for Spence.

  • charles

    We all are.

  • charles

    In fact, I think that I will buy 10 #51 jerseys.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    Then wouldn’t he be pretty much recovered by this October ish because he had his leg repaired late last August?

  • SteelersDepot
  • Jazz

    What? Tomlin was trying to be positive.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Butler is a honest up front guy. He doesnt sugar coat anything. Even though what he is saying is probably true you still do not want to tell the media this guy is done.

  • Don

    18 months would be next Feb

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    Does anyone know in which year Tomlin expects Spence to recover? I’m guessing he is talking about Spence playing in 2014, but if someone heard his comments in their full context, please let me know.

  • Tom

    Any guess to a recovery time would be totally speculative. You simply don’t know if or when the nerve will heal. It could be 12-18 months…it could be never. Even then, the progress apparently can be incremental, with the control of the big toe coming last. Right now, it’s simply a wait and see situation. Too early to assume that a recovery will be made, too early to write Spence off. Lets not forget that Spence will still have to physically rehab the leg/foot/knee, to play at a professional level, if and when nerve healing is accomplished.

    In a sense, this is very much like Peyton Manning’s situation. After multiple neck surgeries, Manning basically had to wait for nerve regeneration to regain full (or close to full) function of his throwing arm. A fact that seemed to go over the heads of the media types who were monitoring his recovery on a daily basis.

  • Shame on Keith Butler. You don’t take the piss out of a man like that. Shame on him! Mad respect for Tomlin to speak up about this one. That’s someone you can stand behind right there.

  • T Austin Miller

    Tomlin needs to upgrade this staff. We need to get younger guys on sooner and be more positive.

  • DoctorNoah

    I’m curious – what is Spence’s salary while he’s rehabbing? What do players make when they’re on IR?

  • charles

    Who cares?!?