Sean Spence was not around when Al Michaels asked his famous question, but, yes, he does believe in miracles.

Just like the U.S. hockey gold-medal victory in the 1980 Olympics, Spence's return to play football with the Steelers would be "miraculous," according to one of his coaches.

Spence plans to beat those odds as he recovers from a sickening left knee injury in the final preseason game of his rookie year nine months ago.

"I'm going to continue to attack this like I'm going to play this year," Spence said after watching another spring practice Wednesday. "I'm in meetings and preparing as if I'm practicing. I'm just going to continue to get better and I'm looking forward to the season."

Spence has been attending spring practices, soaking up everything he can about Dick LeBeau's defense, even though he won't be able to participate, and some say won't be able to play until at least next year.

Keith Butler, his linebacker's coach, said the team will carry Spence on a reserve list this year as his knee continues to heal and with the hope that a "miraculous" recovery will permit him to play perhaps in 2014.

"It will be miraculous if he comes back next year," Butler said. "We are going to take a chance on him and see if he can come back. To me, he is worth every bit of that."

Spence told reporters that he can run, and that his goal is to play this year.

"I know I'm going to beat the odds,'' Spence said. "I'm not even worried about that. The progress that I have made, the doctors say that I've already beat the odds. I'm just keeping my faith in God and knowing he's going to give me another chance."

Mike Tomlin disputed Butler's timetable for Spence's return when he said early this month that "I did hear the opinion regarding Spence. My opinion differs. I think he'll have a full recovery."

Said Spence Wednesday, "Just to have the whole organization and my coach [behind me], it does feel great."