It seems like most Dallas Cowboys fans let out a big sigh in late April when the news broke that the team had re-signed injured defensive end Anthony Spencer. With major question marks surrounding the position going into the NFL Draft, most took solace in knowing an experienced, Pro Bowl caliber-player could possibly fill that void for the upcoming season. But that illusion came crashing down earlier this week when it was revealed Spencer may actually start the regular season on the Physically Unable to Perform list, which is also known as the PUP List.
Here’s what Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones told dallascowboys.com earlier this week about Spencer and the team’s expectations concerning his recovery time:
"“We’re eyes wide open on this – not going to be totally surprised if he starts the season on PUP. Anthony thinks he might beat that, and I hope he does. We came into this knowing that he could be a PUP guy, so it’s not going to be an, ‘Oh my God, he didn’t make the first game.’ We knew that that was a very real possibility.”"
If Spencer landed on this list, he would unable to play in the first six games of Dallas’ regular season. And this scenario should leave a bad taste in every Cowboys fan’s mouth as this is exactly how All-Pro defensive tackle Jay Ratliff ended up in Chicago last season.
After re-aggregating an injury during a condition test prior to training camp last offseason, Ratliff ended up on the PUP list after several reassurances by the Cowboys front office that he would play at the start of the regular season. Once the veteran Pro Bowl tackle was eligible to play again in Week Seven, rumors surfaced that his injury would now cause him to miss the rest of the regular season. Ratliff was promptly release by Dallas. A week later, doctors cleared him medically and he ended up finishing out the season as a member of the Chicago Bears.
Whereas Ratliff’s situation was more about one disgruntled player, Spencer’s situation is more about a possible career-ending injury. For months we’ve heard nothing but positivity about Spencer’s recovery from micro-fracture knee surgery. This week, Spencer himself admitted to The Associated Press the sobering thought that not many athletes recover from this kind of procedure.
"“The injury, it’s really uncommon. You rarely see guys coming back from it. I’m just on my body schedule. Wherever my body is, that’s where I am…I’ve gotten to where I am by listening to my body and rehabbing and doing things at the pace of my body, That’s one of the biggest things with this surgery I’ve read is just being patient. I’m just not pushing it anywhere past that.”"
But what do you think? Will Anthony Spencer even play one single game for the Dallas Cowboys in 2014? Place your vote below and feel free to chime in to our community discussion about it in our comments section as well.