The second-year defender returned from the physically unable to perform list in order to practice with the Steelers this week, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, part of an inspirational comeback bid over a year in the making.
Spence, a third-round pick in the 2012 draft, had impressed the Pittsburgh coaching staff through camp and the first three preseason games of his rookie year and appeared to have a bright future with the team. Then, in the final exhibition game, he suffered a catastrophic knee injury in which he tore his ACL and LCL, dislocated his kneecap and, most significantly, damaged the peroneal nerve that helps control movement in the lower leg.
Under PUP rules, the Steelers now have three weeks to evaluate Spence's progress. At the end of that period they must either promote him to the active roster, place him on injured reserve or waive him.