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Cowboys’ Spencer ‘Bone Bruise’ Could Lead To Serious Injury

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OXNARD, CA (CBSDFW.COM/105.3 THE FAN) – Anthony Spencer’s “mild’’ knee injury has been diagnosed as a “bone bruise,’’ and the Pro Bowl defensive end has sat out the first two days of Dallas Cowboys training camp. If it seems like the Cowboys are being unusually cautious here, they are – and one of the reasons should be named “Kevin Ware.’’

Ware is the Louisville basketball player who sustained one of the most infamous and gruesome injuries ever captured on live television on May 31 in the NCAA Tournament when he snapped his tibia.

How in the world is this related to Spencer?

A medical source with knowledge of Spencer’s situation (but not affiliated with the Cowboys) tells 105.3 The Fan that the term “bone bruise’’ is a misnomer; it actually means a fracturing of the inner layer of bone. Among the issues: such an ailment weakens the outer layer of the bone, the hardest part, possibly making a serious fracture more likely down the line if it isn’t managed properly.

That may very well be what Spencer is suffering from now.

“It’s concerning to me,’’ Spencer said Monday. “It’s bothering me right now. I really don’t know what else to do. I’m just taking it day-by-day.”

But “day-to-day’’ might not quite be enough. If the Cowboys’ announced diagnosis is correct, at least six weeks of rest could end up being the wisest avenue for Spencer.

The tie to the Louisville basketball player?

It’s barely publicized at all that six weeks before Ware’s horrible compound fracture, on January 21, he sustained another seemingly scary knee injury that was eventually diagnosed as a “bone bruise.’’ Ware played through the injury, and in doing so, may have set himself up for the later broken tibia.

Says our source: “Ware’s knee buckled and there was no shock absorption from his knee. That transmits 1,000 pounds of pressure somewhere else – and that amount of pressure can break a bone.’’

That is the concern with Spencer, which is why there is talk that he’ll start undergoing regular MRI examinations.

“We don’t think it’s a severe thing,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said hopefully. “We’re just trying to come up with what we think is the best option here in the next few days.”

The Cowboys have made noise about Spencer undergoing “minor surgery’’ on his knee that could cause him to miss two to three weeks. But if the bone-bruise diagnosis is correct, it’s not clear what surgery would repair. (It’s possible an MRI showed loose bodies needing to be cleaned up, but that’s no cure for the “bone bruise.’’)

Spencer, who is playing under the franchise tag with a one-year contract for $10.6 million, seems to smartly be opting for patience – the only remedy for the ““bone bruise that is really a fracture.’’

“We’ve got a long time until this first game,” Spencer said. “I’m just going to take my time right now and get right for the season.”

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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