Steelers Injury Report: Plaxico Burress to IR, but not Matt Spaeth

Jared Wickerham

Plaxico Burress may have broke his career when he tore his rotator cuff, but his season is officially over. Perhaps depth at his position plays a part as Matt Spaeth may be looking at a second chance.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are trying to solve the riddle 'How many injured tight ends does it take to win a Super Bowl championship?' Or, at least, how many can one team carry along the way?

According to Steelers digest editor Bob Labriola, the body of Matt Spaeth needs to be included in the count.

Plaxico Burress was expected to miss the rest of the season with a torn rotator cuff, which would take most of the regular season to heal even with immediate surgical repair; but the perceived depth at his position - Derek Moye, Justin Brown, Markus Wheaton, J.D. Woods - may have eliminated any need to await his recovery as seems to be the case with Spaeth.

Followers of the Steelers are left with several conclusions to jump to. Perhaps Heath Miller is closer to recovery than previously led to believe. Maybe the team believes Spaeth will recover faster than Maurice Jones-Drew and Santonio Holmes did last season.

The Steelers currently have four healthy tight ends participating in training camp: David Paulson, Jamie McCoy, Michael Palmer and Peter Tuitupou. They also have three injured tight ends in Miller, Spaeth and David Johnson. Typically the team keeps three tight ends on their 53-man roster, even with a starting fullback Will Johnson also on the list.

Should Pittsburgh place Spaeth on IR with designation for return, he could come back in Week 9 granted he is fully recovered from lisfranc surgery. Injured Reserve status grants the team a roster exemption to compensate for the absent player. By not placing Spaeth on IR, the team waives their right to such an exemption; meaning the unavailable Spaeth would count against the 53 man limit.

Rumors have placed Miller in a similar situation - being held on the active roster even if not healthy despite options like PUP which would allow a return in Week 7, or IR with return designation. If both rumors hold true, two of the team's typical three would be inactive for the opening of the regular season. How many TEs will the team hold beyond Spaeth and Miller?

The team is already not expected to bring in any more TEs unless injury strikes again. Perhaps if Paulson, McCoy and Palmer can prove capable of handling the load in their stead, the team will change its stance on Miller and Spaeth.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Behind the Steel Curtain

You must be a member of Behind the Steel Curtain to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Behind the Steel Curtain. You should read them.

Join Behind the Steel Curtain

You must be a member of Behind the Steel Curtain to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Behind the Steel Curtain. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker