Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Dallas Cowboys [Print without images]

Monday, September 2, 2013
Cowboys high on injured projected starters

By Calvin Watkins

IRVING, Texas -- Cowboys left guard Ronald Leary did some individual drills during Monday's practice, his first work since undergoing minor knee surgery late last month. Cowboys defensive end Anthony Spencer didn't practice, still recovering from minor knee surgery himself that occurred in late July.

Spencer
Kluwe
Leary
With the regular-season opener against the New York Giants just seven days away, there is some concern about both projected starters.

Leary didn't play in a regular-season game last season while sitting on the practice squad, and this summer he participated in just two of the five preseason games because he suffered a knee injury.

If all goes well this week with his health, Leary will make his debut. Leary, however, has missed valuable practice time while nursing the injury.

"Well, you’d rather have it the other way, where he’s practicing every day," coach Jason Garrett said. "But that’s not the nature of our game, so you have to deal with what the situation is, and he really did a nice job for us in the spring when he was healthy. In training camp, he did a nice job, played well in the games. We feel very confident about him. But, again, we have to get him healthy and practicing. We will see if we can do that over the next couple of days."

Spencer has played in 90 NFL games, including 67 starts in a career starting in 2007, so game experience isn't an issue.

Conditioning could be because Spencer hasn't worked out until the start of training camp. So he's been apart from the team in terms of practicing since mid-July.

"Yeah, conditioning certainly is a factor," Garrett said. "I would say particularly for Spence, just because he really hasn’t done much during training camp and hasn’t played in the preseason games. But we will take each of those injuries and all of our injuries day by day and look at what they are able to do individually as the week progresses and make our plan for the game."

If Spencer is unavailable, George Selvie will start at end. Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin expressed some concern about how many plays Spencer will play against the Giants and how effective his game will be.

"Again, a little bit of a hypothetical," Garrett said. "We just got to see how he does, how he responds to the work. He’s been working hard to get back. We appreciate that. I know how much desire he has to play. He’s a real pro and he’s doing everything he can to get healthy and be ready to do. So, we will see how he does over the next couple of days and make a decision."