It’s something that nobody wants to see, it’s what you dread as a coach and what makes you cringe as a fan. In the Steelers preseason win, 17-16, over the Carolina Panthers at Heinz Field, both rookie Sean Spence and 2nd year CB Curtis Brown left the game with knee injuries.
Curtis Brown went out in the first half and did not return. The official word was a knee injury and no other update available even after the game. If Brown is out for any length of time his loss will be felt in the secondary but also on special teams, where Brown has been solid all preseason.
The most extreme injury was rookie LB Sean Spence out of Miami. All I can say is that knees just don’t bend that way and hyper extended is an understatement. This was one of those that will make you put down the hot wings and think twice about getting up too quickly until your stomach settles. Spence was coming into the backfield on a pass rush in the 3rd quarter, got his left leg caught in the turf and as he was bent in half forward hitting the ground his leg stuck and went the opposite direction.
He was on the ground for several minutes in obvious, serious pain, and tossed his helmet in disgust. As he was carted off in a full leg brace he was surrounded by his teammates offering words of encouragement. The official word during the game was a “left knee injury, won’t return”.
In Mike Tomlin’s post game press conference he called the injury “significant” and said that Spence was in the hospital getting evaluated. He also commented that Brown is being evaluated but the severity is was not yet known.
After the game, ProFootballTalk reported: Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Spence is believed to have a torn ACL, torn LCL, and dislocated kneecap. Spence, a third-round pick from Miami, undoubtedly is headed to injured reserve.
It’s a blow to an already thin Steelers Linebacking corp; James Harrison is still recovering from knee surgery, Jason Worilds’ wrist is not fully healed and Stevenson Sylvester’s knee are all concerns for the regular season.
Spence had himself a very good training camp and saw significant playing time in all 4 preseason games. His speed and quickness, along with sure tackling were evident as he continued to learn and improve. Spence has a bright future in Pittsburgh but unfortunately it looks like it won’t be in 2012.
Robert Golden also injured his hamstring, the severity is not yet known.
Update 1:30pm EST, Aug. 31 – Rookie linebacker Sean Spence has multiple torn ligaments in his left knee and is expected to miss the remainder of the season, a source told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Pic courtesy of KDKA and EvilMikeTomlin Twitter