In a season that most Pittsburgh Steelers fans have to be wondering, “can it get any worse?” it got worse last night. Promising rookie linebacker Sean Spence suffered a knee injury in their NFL preseason game against the Carolina Panthers, and it was bad. Really bad.
While this isn’t confirmed, it is believed that Spence suffered a torn ACL, torn LCL, and a dislocated kneecap along with possible nerve damage in his knee. At the bare minimum, Spence is gone for the entire 2012 season, but some close to the situation are concerned that this could be the type of injury that could extend for more that one season and in a worst case scenario, be career threatening. Yes, I said that right. Career threatening. Tragic.
This preseason has been an injury roller coaster for the Steelers, with seemingly one player after another being lost with each passing week. Fellow rookie David DeCastro suffered a serious knee injury the week before and while he’s not been put on IR, it’s believed he’ll miss the bulk of the season.
For Spence though, this is much worse. Coming out of the University of Miami, there were concerns with his size and where he’d play in the Steelers defense. During the preseason, Spence had shown real flashes of the suddenness and athleticism that convinced the Steelers to draft him. This injury puts a real exclamation point on the concerns players have with the preseason and the problems it can cause.
The deadline for NFL teams to make their final roster cuts is today, and this injury will certainly modify the plans of the Steelers coaching staff. The team has some nice young talent at linebacker, but having Spence on the roster this year to develop would have been tremendous. Our thoughts and prayers are with Spence and we hope that he makes a full recovery and can make his way back onto the field at some point.