Spencer could start year on PUP list

IRVING, Texas -- These are tough odds Anthony Spencer faces right now.

The Dallas Cowboys' defensive end is recovering from microfracture surgery and has a goal of playing at some point this season.

Spencer, who underwent the procedure last year, said he hopes to return by the end of training camp. If that’s the case, Spencer most likely will begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list. This news is not a surprise, given the difficultly to return from such a surgery.

Team doctors have given Spencer a timetable on when he can return. But Spencer won’t reveal it, instead he’s just focusing on his rehab.

“This injury it’s really uncommon, you rarely see guys coming back from it,” Spencer said. “So, I’m really not looking at any type of timetable. I’m just on my body schedule; where my body is, that’s where I am.”

The Cowboys have had two players, Al Johnson and Kevin Hardy, return from microfracture surgery. New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marques Colston had the procedure in 2009 and Detroit Lions right tackle Gosder Cherilus got it done in 2010.

And each returned to the field from their injuries.

Washington Redskins defensive tackle Stephen Bowen underwent microfracture surgery and hopes to return this season.

“There’s guys who come back and other guys who struggle,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said. “It’s certainly not an impossibility. Sometimes it just takes longer than an ACL or something like that.”

Spencer's recovery had him lay in bed for 15 to 16 hours a day to immobilize the leg, all while his wife was pregnant with their first child.

Once he was able to move around, Spencer needed two crutches for four-to-five months.

Now he’s able to walk on his own, but can’t put too much pressure on his knee during the rehab process.

It’s a slow moving rehab that has had very little setbacks. Spencer has undergone four MRIs since the surgery to make sure his knee is stable.

Which it is. But for how long is the question.

“I have to listen to my body,” Spencer said. “I’ve gotten to where I’m listening to my body in rehabbing and doing the things at the pace of my body. Just try to do that and be as patient as possible. That’s one of the biggest things with the surgery (that) I’ve read (is) just being patient and I’m not pushing it pass that.”