WR Dez Bryant expected to play

Barring a setback in pregame warmups, the Dallas Cowboys expect wide receiver Dez Bryant to start Sunday against the Carolina Panthers, according to a source.

Bryant raised concern when he missed practice Friday with what is not a groin strain but residual soreness.

Bryant is coming off the best two-game streak of his brief NFL career and leads the Cowboys with 34 receptions for 364 yards to go along with two touchdowns. In recent games, he has replaced Miles Austin as the team's most targeted wide receiver.

The Cowboys also are encouraged about prospects for outside linebacker Anthony Spencer's potential return. He has missed two games with a strained pectoral muscle.

Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has said that opposing quarterbacks should be wary of the Cowboys pass rush once the team has both Spencer and nose tackle Jay Ratliff in the lineup together with DeMarcus Ware. Ratliff made his regular-season debut last week from a high ankle sprain.