Cowboys' outside linebacker Anthony Spencer is not expected to play Monday night against the Bears with a shoulder injury that has forced him to miss all week of practice.
Spencer remains on the injury report as "questionable" to play but sources inside Valley Ranch suggest the sixth-year pro will not be able to face Chicago this week.
That means Victor Butler will likely get the start. And while he's been a steady pass-rusher at times, the Cowboys have always wondered just how effective he would be as a full-time player having to stop the run.
Look for the Bears to test him early and often, especially if Matt Forte plays. Chicago head coach Lovie Smith called Forte a game-time decision to play, after missing last week with a high-ankle sprain. Michael Bush is a big, physical runner and will get some carries, whether or not Forte plays.
Spencer is off to a good start this year, with two sacks, and a team-high nine quarterback pressures. Spencer is second on the defense with 29 tackles.
In a limited role, Butler has two tackles this year and one quarterback pressure.
If Spencer is indeed out, the Cowboys will be very thin at outside linebacker, especially if Alex Albright misses another game with a stinger injury. Albright is also questionable to play and was limited all week in practice. Rookie linebacker Kyle Wilber will likely get a few more reps this week as well.