Marcus Spears hasn't started a game since Nov. 7. He likely will be needed this week.
Starting right defensive end Jason Hatcher injured his calf against the Redskins. He said he is day to day, but he isn't likely to play Sunday. Spears gave it away by saying he would be starting this week.
"It's one of those things you have to stay in treatment and see how it responds," Hatcher said Wednesday. "Hopefully I'll be back before long. I don't know the time frame on it."
Hatcher has made nine tackles and two sacks in 88 plays this season. Spears, who has made six tackles, has played 68 plays. That number likely will go up this week.
Spears said it'll be just like old times if the Cowboys need him to start. He has made 78 starts in his seven-year career.
"I’ve been doing this a while," Spears said. "I don’t look at it as an opportunity. I just look at it as I’m going out playing like I’ve always done. I don’t look at myself as somebody that’s in the midst, waiting to give the team what I’ve got. I’ve had an opportunity to play in the first three games, and this is just another game that I’ll be starting. But other than that, it’s the same mentality that I take every game: Be ready when it’s time to go and just go out and help the team in any way you can."
Spears injured his groin in the preseason. He returned for the season opener but played only 14 plays. He played 22 against the 49ers and 32 against the Redskins, according to Pro Football Focus.
-- Charean Williams