Cowboys end Spears tears cartilage in first workout

Second-year defensive end Marcus Spears, a 2005 first-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys who appeared in all 16 regular-season games as a rookie, suffered a torn meniscus cartilage in his right knee Saturday and will undergo arthroscopic surgery on Sunday.


The surgery is expected to sideline Spears, a starter in 10 games last season, for 2-3 weeks.

Spears sustained the injury while rushing the quarterback. As he broke toward the pocket, Spears' foot stuck in the turf, causing the tear.

"God gives you things, and you've got to take care of them when they come," Spears said. "It's tough man, because I don't want to miss [any time]."

The Cowboys, who have convened training camp in Oxnard, Calif., will fly Spears back to Dallas to have the procedure performed by an orthopedic surgeon there. It will mark the second surgery on Spears' right knee, which was also repaired before the 2005 draft.

Spears actually injured his left knee in training camp last summer, severely spraining it in a scrimmage, but that incident did not require surgery.

Fortunately, for the Cowboys, the team does have some depth at end. There is even a chance that veteran Greg Ellis, who has been working in a hybrid role in camp -- an assignment at which he balked during the spring -- could be moved back to end. Still, the Dallas defense is stronger with Spears, who is a prototype 3-4 end in terms of size and skill-set, in the lineup.

The former LSU star, who was the 20th overall selection in the 2005 draft, registered 31 tackles and 1½ sacks in his rookie campaign. At nearly 300 pounds, he is a strong anchor versus the run.