IRVING, Texas – While the Cowboys get ready for to face the best quarterback in the NFL, one of the players they expected to provide heavy pressure this season is recovering from surgery.
Anthony Spencer underwent successful microfracture surgery on his left knee on Tuesday. The procedure was performed by Dr. Dan Cooper, one of the Cowboys' team physicians. He was placed on injured reserve last week and will be out for the rest of the season.
Spencer was bothered by the left knee since the start of camp. Just a few days after the Cowboys arrived in Oxnard, Calif. in mid-July, Spencer was sent back to Dallas for arthroscopic knee surgery. The goal was to have him back 100 percent for the Giants game on Sept. 8, but Spencer wasn't ready. His first and only game of the season occurred the next week in Kansas City. Spencer played limited snaps and had two quarterback pressures in a backup role.
Spencer was then held out of the Rams game the next week and eventually landed a spot on IR.
The microfracture surgery consists of tiny fractures drilled in the knee to create blood clotting that develops into cartilage.
Spencer will be a free agent after this season after two straight years of playing under the franchise tag. The Cowboys cleared enough space on the salary cap back in March to give him the $10.63 million tag. In 2012, Spencer played all year on an $8.8 million franchise tag and enjoyed his best season of his career, producing 11 sacks and earning his first Pro Bowl selection.
Last week, Jerry Jones expressed major disappointment in Spencer being lost for the season. The owner dismissed the notion of regretting paying Spencer this past spring.
"We certainly would like to have those dollars, but I'd rather have Spencer than those dollars," Jones said last week. "I can't look at the obvious. Any time something doesn't work out, I can look at it that way. But I can tell you, if anybody is going to get the money under these circumstances, I'm glad it's him. He's worked hard."
Jones also mentioned the idea of bringing back Spencer next year.
"He's just coming into his own," Jones said. "But he would be a great complement, if we go that way, to Ware, in the future."