Garrett surprised by Spencer's surgery

IRVING, Texas -- Monday afternoon, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he expected defensive end Anthony Spencer to return from knee soreness and pick up full-time snaps again.

Tuesday afternoon the Cowboys universe was shattered when team owner/general manager Jerry Jones said on his weekly radio show Spencer would need season-ending surgery on his left knee. The surgery could be microfracture, which could take up to a year of recovery time.

Garrett said Wednesday morning he was surprised to hear about the surgery.

"We just wanted to make sure we did everything the right way," Garrett said. "Last week it just didn't feel great to him. He felt like there was something wrong. He got the MRI late Monday afternoon and we got the word Monday night. This is the best thing for him going forward. We're fully confident it's going to be handled the right way and he will be back and there is a lot more football left in him."

Spencer becomes a free agent after the 2013 season so his prospects for finding employment will be difficult until he can prove to NFL teams, including the Cowboys, he's 100 percent healthy.

With Spencer gone for the season, the starting role will be maintained by George Selvie who was signed in late July. In three games, Selvie has two sacks, one tackle for loss and five quarterback pressures.

"The next man up has been George Selvie for most of training camp and the preseason and the start of the season," Garrett said. "He’s taken full advantage of his opportunity to play. We've have some other guys we've brought in in recent weeks who will be involved in that mix as well. We will give those guys opportunities going forward, but George is the guy who is going to take his place. He's done a good job so far and we'll continue to expect great things from him."