Anthony Spencer could be out longer

Updated: October 12, 2012, 3:39 PM ET
By Todd Archer | ESPNDallas.com

IRVING, Texas -- Anthony Spencer's pectoral strain could keep him out of a second straight game, and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan isn't sure the Dallas Cowboys starting outside linebacker will be able to play anytime soon.

"That's a longer injury than people realize," Ryan said. "It's up to a six-week injury, I've heard, or even longer. That's a big thing. He's working hard every day, but he's just going to have to get well. Once he is, we'll play him, but if he's not, we obviously can't do it even though the kid wants to play. We just can't do it."

Spencer practiced on a limited basis Thursday and did not take part in Friday's practice; he officially is listed as questionable for Sunday's game at Baltimore. Prior to the past two games he has expressed the hope of being able to play, but if the six-week diagnosis holds up, then he would be looking at a Nov. 4 return against Atlanta.

"I don't know a whole lot about muscle pulls -- I know you guys are shocked -- but he's got to get through this thing, that's all," Ryan said.

Victor Butler replaced Spencer Oct. 1 against Chicago, but Alex Albright will return Sunday at Baltimore after missing the past two games with a stinger. Albright is a better run defender and Butler is a better pass-rusher, so the Cowboys could look to mix their snaps at outside linebacker.

"Alex will definitely play more," Ryan said. "He's ready to go. He had a great week of practice. Albright's a great player. We can put him in a lot of different positions."

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

SPONSORED HEADLINES

ALSO SEE

MORE NFL HEADLINES