Dallas Cowboys

Jerry Jones acknowledges Tony Romo is fragile, unsure what future may hold

Tony Romo won’t play against Cleveland next week.
Tony Romo won’t play against Cleveland next week. mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

Owner Jerry Jones ruled Tony Romo out for next weekend’s game at Cleveland.

But he isn’t ready to rule Romo out for future years.

Following the Cowboys’ 29-23 overtime victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night, Jones acknowledged that it’s fair to consider Romo “fragile” but said we won’t known for several years just how much more football the veteran quarterback has in him.

“Does it look like he’s at a stage in his career where he’s fragile? And more fragile than he’s been? You could look at his injury history over the last three or four years and come to that conclusion,” Jones said. “But none of us will ever know until we’re sitting here and he’s played 16 games a year and a bunch of playoff games for the next five years and we’ll look back and say everybody thought he couldn’t take a hit.

“That’s the only way I know we’ll ever know.”

Romo, 36, has been sidelined all season after sustaining a compression fracture in his lower back in the third preseason game at Seattle on Aug. 25. Romo missed 12 games last season with a twice fractured left collarbone, and underwent multiple back surgeries in 2013.

But Jones is confident this latest injury won’t be an issue for Romo, and he can get back to playing his best football down the road.

“I know everything on him will be healed, it will be medically sound and I know that the injury he had against Seattle was in no way a part of any other injury,” Jones said. “Of all the injuries he’s had, it will be the one that we’ve had the most assurance that there’s probably a non-recurrence situation. It independently could heal completely and be as good as it was before he was hurt. That’s this particular injury we’re talking about.

“We know we’ve done some things with his clavicle [known as a Mumford procedure] to strengthen that. We’ve addressed that in the offseason, so I’d say a lot of the things that you think of that might happen, that have happened, we’ve addressed.”

Romo returned to practice for the first time last week, being listed as limited on Thursday.

It’s unknown how much more Romo will be able to do this week, but Jones said it would not be enough to get him back for the Cleveland game next Sunday. That means the earliest Romo could return is the Nov. 13 game at Pittsburgh.

But there has to be some concern with Romo’s ability to withstand a hit. Seattle defensive end Cliff Avril hit him on the blindside on the Aug. 25 game, knocking him out for what has turned into more than a two-month rehab process.

“I don’t think Tony will ever change [how he plays], his instincts,” Jones said. “I do think that he, like all of these veteran quarterbacks, knows how to make a business decision and not necessarily take a hit.

“The one he got in Seattle was from behind and he obviously didn’t see that coming.”

Drew Davison: 817-390-7760, @drewdavison

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