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Anthony Spencer: Surgery Possible, Do Cowboys Need To Sign Vet Defensive Linemen?

When news broke that Anthony Spencer had to miss part of the first training camp practice, it was hoped it was just a minor thing. Now we are learning he might need surgery on his knee.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The only thing that can dampen the celebration around the opening of an NFL training camp is injuries. That's what the Dallas Cowboys are facing. The big one was losing Tyrone Crawford for the season with an Achilles tear, that robbed the team of a promising rotation player. Now, one of their big guns, Anthony Spencer, faces the possibility of knee surgery. Luckily, this should be cleared up by the start of the season, but the time estimates for recovery vary.

Officially, the Cowboys are labeling it a bone bruise and are deciding whether to perform surgery.

Spencer said if he undergoes surgery he will be out from two-to-three weeks. Team officials are still monitoring Spencer's health and haven't made a final determination regarding surgery. Spencer aggravated a bone bruise in his left knee that kept him out of parts of organized team activities and minicamp and the last hour of Sunday's practice and the entire Monday session. Spencer said the pain started in Saturday's conditioning run. He went through the early part of Sunday's practice but did not take part in any team drills. He had an MRI on Sunday night, which confirmed the bruise.

"We don't think it's severe," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "We'll just come up with what we think is the best option here in the next few days."

So 2-3 weeks if he decides to have the surgery. But, our friend Mike Fisher, speculates that it could be longer. He's basing that off observations from medical sources about the nature of bone bruises.

The Cowboys have made noise about Spencer undergoing "minor surgery'' on his knee that could cause him to miss two to three weeks. But if the bone-bruise diagnosis is correct, it's not clear what surgery would repair. (It's possible an MRI showed loose bodies needing to be cleaned up, but that's no cure for the "bone bruise.'')

But "day-to-day'' [rest] might not quite be enough. If the Cowboys' announced diagnosis is correct, at least six weeks of rest could end up being the wisest avenue for Spencer.

Six weeks would still allow him enough time to make the season-opener, but would make him rusty and behind in his conditioning for that contest. Again, all this is only speculation at the moment.

For now, the Cowboys are standing pat, trying to see what some of their untested depth can do in training camp. But they concede that they may end up going outside the team, but only towards the end of preseason.

The Cowboys will scan the waiver wire for possible additions for depth purposes, but they will look to the current players on the roster to help fill the void. If they need to add a veteran such as John Abraham or Richard Seymour, it will be at the end of the preseason, a source said. The Cowboys will consider players such as Cameron Sheffield to step up at end behind Spencer, DeMarcus Ware and Kyle Wilber and former Texas A&M tackle Ben Bass to fill the void inside.

“We’re just staying where we’re at right now,” defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said. “We might do some of that, but not yet. We’ve just got to get it down. We don’t have guys playing double positions right now and stuff.”

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