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Cowboys Anthony Spencer Takes Next Step In Rehab Process

Re-signed to a one-year "prove that you can return to football" deal, defensive end Anthony Spencer is making progress as he tries to come back from microfracture surgery after playing only 34 snaps in 2013.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

With only six weeks to go before the Dallas Cowboys open training camp in Oxnard, veteran defensive end Anthony Spencer is facing a serious uphill battle to be ready by the time camp starts. Everyone, including Spencer himself, anticipates that he will begin the annual pre-season rituals on the physically unable to perform list, but he is making significant progress toward taking his place among his teammates. Still, he anticipates that it will not be too much longer before we see him don the familiar #93 and take the field.

"I’m sure some other people have their doubts, but I don’t have any doubts, no." - Anthony Spencer

This week, while the majority of the Cowboys were participating in voluntary OTAs at the squad's Valley Ranch home, Spencer was participating in the next part of his rehabilitation process. For the first time since undergoing the extensive surgical procedure last September, Anthony Spencer found himself out on the field. Twice in the last week he has been out there running as a part of the battle to find his way back to football. For most, this would not be much, but for the former Pro Bowl player it is a huge step in the right direction.

"Not being able to walk, to being able to walk, to being able to run, I feel good about it."

Next up for Spencer is to test how well the repaired knee will hold up in lateral movement. He anticipates being able to work on change of direction and cutting drills in the next couple weeks. The signs are positive but Spencer and the team are not willing to press their luck too far. They will maintain a "one day at a time" approach and follow the process. The goal is simply to continue making progress, not to get the player on the field ASAP.

"We’ve been doing it in a way that it’s not too sore after, and I’ve been able to come back and do some more stuff the next day, so we’re just progressing."

The consensus all along has been that Spencer was facing a 10-12 month recovery period, and so far he is right on pace for that mark. This time-frame could keep him off the field right up until the season begins, but the team does not seem to have any concerns with this. If necessary, Spencer could start the season on the reserve/PUP list and be eligible to join the 53-man roster after the first six weeks of the season. Having him healthy for ten games this season would be infinitely better for the team that having him suffer a setback by rushing the process.

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