In late April, Cowboys defensive end Anthony Spencer said that he was hopeful he’d recover from microfracture surgery on his left knee in time for the start of training camp in July.
The Cowboys likely have the same hope, but it is falling well short of an expectation. Coach Jason Garrett, speaking generally about players returning from serious injuries, said that he doesn’t know if you can count on any player in that position and executive vice president Stephen Jones said they re-signed Spencer this offseason with the knowledge that he may not be ready to go until the regular season is well underway.
“We’re eyes wide open on this,” Jones said, via the Dallas Morning News. “I won’t be totally surprised if he starts the season on PUP. Anthony thinks he might be back. I hope he does. We came into this knowing that he could be a PUP guy.”
The Cowboys built Spencer’s deal with that in mind, loading it with incentives that Spencer will have to be healthy enough to earn on the field, and they’ve added a lot of help on the defensive line to give themselves options in the event Spencer’s knee won’t let him go. Even if he can, it’s a bit of a mystery how well he’ll do at defensive end after playing just 34 snaps there last season. All in all, it adds up to more questions than answers about what Spencer can offer in 2014.