Cowboys crossing fingers about the return of injured starters
SEP 03, 2013 12:16a ET
Spencer has missed all of the preseason after having arthroscopic knee surgery on July 25.
When the Cowboys held their first regular season game week practice Monday, Spencer still wasn't seen on the field. Spencer will get one more day of rest with the players off Tuesday.
If Spencer can't practice Wednesday, it's doubtful he will play Sunday night's season opener against the Giants.
"We've just got to see how he does, how he responds to the work," Garrett said during Monday's press conference. "He's been working hard to get back."
Spencer aggravated the knee during a pre-camp conditioning test. After having the franchise tag placed on him for a second season, Spencer was expected to give the Cowboys a quality defensive end opposite DeMarcus Ware in the new 4-3 alignment.
Now, even if Spencer is able to practice this week, it's likely he would only play a limited number of snaps against the Giants.
"Conditioning certainly is a factor, I would say particularly for Spence, just because he hasn't done much during training camp and hasn't played in the preseason games," Garrett said.
That means the well-traveled George Selvie will see time at defensive end regardless of Spencer's status.
"I'm very confident in George," Garrett said. "He came in here and has taken advantage of every opportunity we've given him, both in practices and scrimmages and preseason games.
"He's a pro, he's played in this league. He's a good run defender. He affects the quarterback and the pass game. You love his approach, and he's done everything we've asked him to do so far."
Cornerback Morris Claiborne also could see limited action, even if he returns for the Giants game. The second-year veteran and former No. 1 draft pick missed the entire preseason with a knee injury that has been slow to heal.
"He's coming back off the injury, so he's not quite 100 percent," Garrett said. "But he's been practicing the last couple of days and moving around better. Again, we're optimistic with him."
The Cowboys are also optimistic about the return of offensive guard Ron Leary, who returned to the practice field Monday after missing more than two weeks with arthroscopic knee surgery.
Leary was seen rotating at left guard with Mackenzy Bernadeau during the early portion of practice visible to the media. It's hoped that Leary can start there, otherwise the Cowboys may have to go with the shuffle they've experimented with that moves right tackle Doug Free to right guard.
"Ron Leary did some individual stuff," Garrett said. "He didn't practice extensively. We're hopeful he can practice on Wednesday."
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