DALLAS — Despite the best efforts and intentions from both Tony Romo and team trainers, the NFL’s most famous right pinkie is not going to allow an early return for the Dallas Cowboys starting quarterback.
UPDATE: Romo said Wednesday the plan now is to get his injured finger healthy by the bye week, which is Nov. 9.
In an interview Tuesday night on the radio show Inside The Huddle With Terrell Owens at the House of Blues in downtown Dallas, Romo ruled himself out for Sunday’s game. He was more vague about the game against the New York Giants on Nov. 2 in New York. The bye is Nov. 9. As for practice, that’s a to-be-determined.
“It’s going to be Brad [Johnson]. He’s going to go this week. Unless something different happens that we don’t foresee, it will be very difficult to change,” Romo said. “We’ll go back to the drawing board and see if we can come up with something different. It is what it is right now. We’ll rally around Brad. Hopefully we’ll get two wins out of this before the bye.”
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Tuesday’s interview on the show hosted by Owens, the Cowboys' top receiver, was the first time Romo spoke of the injury since he had learned of the fracture on Oct. 13. Romo suffered the broken pinkie on the first play of overtime in the Cowboys’ defeat against the Cardinals on Oct. 12 in Arizona.
While he is not able to play, he is keenly aware of the importance of Sunday’s game, and this current stretch. The Cowboys have lost three of the their lost four games, and they will host a 5-2 Bucs team before they go to New York to play the 5-1 Giants.
“This team understands the sense of urgency,” Romo said. “There are certain moments in football games you need to score. You need to get a stop here. This is one of those times in the season we need to play good football.
“If I come back after the bye or whenever, and we hadn’t won a game it’s going to be hard on this team. I think everyone understands these are very important games. This game is as important of a game as we’ve had around here in a long time.”
Sporting a new, harder protective cast around the finger on Monday, Romo said he originally thought the injury was just a jam.
“I thought, ‘Just suck it up,’ ” he said. “I put pressure on it and it hurt quite a bit.”
It wasn’t until he called a couple of NFL quarterbacks about playing with such injuries that he thought he may actually be able to play.
“It made me to try to give it a go,” Romo said. “It’s a manageable pain and I felt I could do it. It sucked, but I felt I could do it. As the week progressed I felt better about my chances of playing.”
Romo said he pressured the team into trying to get him on the field against the Rams on Sunday in St. Louis. He did warm up with his teammates before the game, and throwing accurate passes with velocity wasn’t the problem.
Taking a snap and quickly adjusting the ball in his hands and throwing? That was a deal breaker.
“If they blitz us, I would never have been able to make that throw,” Romo said. “I wasn’t physically able to get my fingers on the ball in a position to throw it.”
Romo said that when he did try in such situations passes came off sideways.
Johnson struggled in his first start with the Cowboys. In the Cowboys’ 34-14 loss, Johnson was 17-of-34 passing for 234 yards and one touchdown, three interceptions and was sacked three times.
“Once we get Tony back we will be on track,” Owens said. “This season will not be a waste.”