Marcus Spears 'about 95 percent'

IRVING, Texas – Defensive end Marcus Spears has never missed a game in his NFL career, a streak that will continue Sunday night.

That wasn’t a certainty when he sprained the MCL in his left knee during the Cowboys’ final practice in the Alamodome. He was given a recovery timetable of 4-6 weeks, putting his status for the season opener in jeopardy.

“My knee is fine,” Spears said Thursday, exactly five weeks after the injury. “I practiced yesterday in pads and it felt good. We're taking measures to protect it as much as possible but it's not going to be a thought in my mind in the game. I’ll be about 95 percent.”

By protective measure, Spears means he’ll wear a brace on the knee. He hopes that won’t be the case for long.

“Once it gets back strong, the brace is coming off,” Spears said.

Spears has only eight sacks in five seasons and comes off the field on passing downs, but he’s a key member of the base defense. He holds his ground at the preferred point of attack for most rushing attacks, battling right tackles on first and second downs.

The Cowboys’ starters struggled against the run in their last two preseason games. Spears’ return should help solve that problem for the regular season.