Last week Anthony Spencer returned to practice for the first time since undergoing microfracture surgery on his left knee in October 2013, a big step in a recovery process that was far from a sure thing.
But Spencer, and with him the Cowboys, has been optimistic about making it back to the NFL throughout. Initially, he had targeted the season opener for his return to NFL action, a date he looks to have missed by just three weeks.
Earlier this week, team owner Jerry Jones said he was optimistic that Spencer would make his return on Sunday against New Orleans. Jason Garrett was his usual non-committal self when prompted about Spencer, and wouldn't venture beyond his usual "day-to-day" routine.
Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli got a little more specific today:
Rod Marinelli says he expects Anthony spencer to play Sunday night vs New Orleans— Nick Eatman (@nickeatman) September 25, 2014
Even though Spencer played most of his NFL career on the left side, first as a 3-4 OLB and then (briefly) as a 4-3 DE, it's expected that Spencer will play on the right side. He probably won't get too many snaps in his season debut, as the Cowboys will be wary of overworking him, but a heathy Spencer could go a long way towards improving the defensive line's sack total, which currently stands at 0.5 sacks over three games.
In April, Spencer signed a one-year deal with the Cowboys worth $1.25 million. On top of that, he can make an extra $46,875 for every game he is on the Cowboys’ active list.
Asked Anthony Spencer if he was playing Sunday - "That's the plan"— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) September 25, 2014