Spence cannot practice with the team until after its sixth game of the season - meaning the first practice after the Steelers play the Oakland Raiders in Week 7, Spence is eligible to return. Whether he will practice that day depends on a variety of things, including his own desire to do so.
He is allowed to practice at that point, and from the first day he practices, he gets three weeks to be placed on the roster. If he does not, he is placed in Injured Reserve.
Here's a timeline of the decisions that would need to be made by which dates (taken from an article we wrote on the topic at the beginning of training camp).
Monday, Oct. 21 - First day players on the regular season PUP list are eligible to return to practice.
Monday, Nov. 11 - The last day in which a player can return to practice before being placed on the IR for the year. If the player returned to practice Oct. 21, he has three weeks to practice. On this day, the team must make a decision to place him on IR or put him back on the 53-man roster.
Monday, Dec. 2 - If a player began practicing on the last possible day, Nov. 11, Dec. 2 would be the last day before a team would be required to put the player on the IR list.
In other words...Spence cannot practice until Monday, Oct. 21. If on that day, Spence returns to practice, the team has until Monday, Nov. 11 to either place him on the 53-man roster, or put him on the IR. If Spence does not practice until Nov. 11, the team has until Monday, Dec. 2 to place him on the 53-man roster or on IR.
A player can be placed on the 53-man roster or the IR list at any time after Monday, Oct. 21. The three-week waiting period is a maximum time frame.
(applause for Daily Norseman editor Christopher Gates for summarizing this)
More from Behind the Steel Curtain:
- Steelers Roster Cuts: All news and info
- Heyward given top defensive grade by Pro Football Focus
- Cortez Allen is back
- NFL roster cuts: Bears release TE Leonard Pope
- Steelers roster cuts: team releases Baron Batch, Stevenson Sylvester and 9 others
- Jarvis Jones Injury Update: Steelers rookie linebacker expected to be ready for season opener
- Javris Jones injury update: Steelers believe rookie suffered 'deep bruise' per PFT unnamed source
- Steelers will make roster moves today
- Jarvis Jones injury: Steelers report Jones' test results are negative
- Projecting the Steelers 53-man roster following preseason loss to Chiefs
- Steelers roster cuts: Deadline to cut roster to 75 players 4 p.m. Tuesday
- Jarvis Jones Injury Update: Released from hospital tests inconclusive
- 5 things we learned in the Steelers loss to the Chiefs in Preseason Week 3
- Kelvin Beachum's time at tight end may continue