IRVING, Texas – Anthony Spencer still hopes to avoid the physically unable to perform list when the season begins, even if he's not ready for the season opener.
Owner/general manager Jerry Jones expressed optimism at training camp that Spencer wouldn't need to go on PUP, and Spencer said it's his goal to avoid having to do that.
"Yeah, I want to be out on the field as soon as possible, and PUP will put me out six weeks," Spencer said. "I haven't plateaued yet. My body's responding well to the things that we're doing, so we're just going to continue to do them."
The Cowboys could use as many healthy defensive linemen as possible, and Spencer's had the most productive career of the group.
Still, with a need at the position, giving an active roster spot to a player who may not be available for a few games is a risky move. Spencer hasn't put a specific date or a timetable on his return, but he continues to progress and hopes he'll be ready early on.
"They just said we'll keep evaluating and see where we are," he said. "Keep doing the things we've been doing and adding a little bit more, a little bit more, and changing what we do with the change of direction, more my body weight, a little bit more resistance. We're just doing a bunch of different things to see how it reacts." [embedded_ad]
Jones seemed thrilled at camp that Spencer was responding faster than anticipated in his rehab following microfracture knee surgery. That still seems to be the case, and Spencer believes once he's able to start practicing with the team, he'll also be able to start playing in games.
Spencer said he didn't know how taxing the recovery from the surgery would be, but he also tried not to look too far down the road. He said it's a rough surgery to come back from, but it gives him optimism that he's seen growth every time he goes out to the field for rehab work.
"You can get a really good feel in practice," Spencer said. "They put us in hard situations, so I think that once I'll be able to practice, I'll definitely be able to play."
Spencer said he's comfortable playing the left defensive end spot or the right defensive end spot upon his return. Right now, he's working both stances and working to be able to play both sides.
"I'll just be happy to be out there, truthfully," said Spencer, who hasn't played in a game since last September. "It really doesn't matter where I end up."