Spencer spent five months virtually immobilized following a microfracture knee procedure that has shortened the careers of former Broncos running back Terrell Davis and NBA star Tracy McGrady. Executive vice president Stephen Jones now concedes whatever contribution the Cowboys receive from the defensive end is a bonus.
"We're eyes wide open on this," Jones said, via The Dallas Morning News. "I won't be totally surprised if he starts the season on PUP. Anthony thinks he might be back. I hope he does. We came into this knowing that he could be a PUP (physically unable to perform) guy."
Without a timetable for a return, Spencer offered only that it is a "possibility" he will return to practice during the late stages of training camp.
The Cowboys don't know what to expect once Spencer returns because the pass rusher isn't even sure how his knee will respond to football activities.
"When I get out there and see how I feel moving around and doing stuff on the field," Spencer explained, "then I'll be able to answer that type of question more."
It's a given that Spencer will open training camp on active/PUP. His comments suggest he will also spend the first six weeks of the season on reserve/PUP, which puts more pressure on second-round pick DeMarcus Lawrence to contribute right out of the gate.