Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and his mysterious back injury are in a state of limbo.
A CT scan ruled out a skeletal injury, a season-ending injury or anything related to the back surgery he underwent last December to repair a herniated disk.
There is no guarantee Romo will practice this week or play Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.
Romo’s status largely remains in doubt because of questions concerning his pain tolerance and ability to function with the injury.
It will probably come down to a game-time decision Sunday.
“I’m just taking it day by day,” Romo said Wednesday. “Went and got a CT scan and talked to Doc and went through all the stuff you’ve got to go through. I don’t want to get into specifics about what it is. We’ve already looked at it. It will be something you’ll look at each day. It’s unrelated to previous … . You’ve got to figure out a way to manage it and go from there.”
Romo suffered the injury in the third quarter of Monday’s 20-17 overtime loss to the Washington Redskins when he took a knee to his back on a sack by linebacker Keenan Robinson. Romo returned to the game in the fourth quarter after X-rays came back negative. The injury was diagnosed as a contusion.
The Cowboys were vague when asked Wednesday about the exact nature of the injury.
“You’ve got to talk to the doc and training staff for that stuff. All these different terms,” Romo said.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett was similarly obtuse when asked if the injury was still diagnosed as a bruise.
“It came from physical contact, yes,” Garrett said.
Asked why the decision wasn’t as simple as taking a pain-killing shot and playing in the game as he did when he returned to the field Monday, Romo had no answer.
“That’s a good question. I don’t know, you’ve got to ask the trainers about that stuff,” he said.
The decision will be based on his ability to function.
“If it turns out to be just a pain tolerance I will play,” Romo said. “That part has never been an issue. It will be about your ability to be productive in some fashion. That part of it we will continue to evaluate.”
Garrett and owner Jerry Jones called Romo’s status as day-to-day and reiterated that this was a pain tolerance and function issue rather than a long-term injury thing.
“I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anybody who has a tougher will ... . He’s as tough-minded and physically tough a player as I’ve ever been around,” Jones said.
If Romo can’t play, the Cowboys will turn to backup Brandon Weeden.
Weeden completed 4 of 6passes for 69 yards and a touchdown in two series of work against the Redskins. It was his first regular-season action since Week 12 last season with Cleveland.
Weeden worked with the first team in practice Wednesday, which has been common practice since the third week of the season when Romo took a day off to rehab his back.
“I took the reps today obviously,” Weeden said. “If he’s out there practicing, great. If not, then I’ll step in there and take each rep, which has been good. For the last seven or eight weeks, I’ve been able to take those reps on Wednesday, which has been good for me.
“I’m going to treat it no different. If he’s able to go, that’s the best thing. We’ll see how everything plays out.”
Third-string quarterback Dustin Vaughan said a mouthful when he commented that the Cowboys were preparing as if Romo weren’t going to play.
“You have to,” Vaughn said. “Hopefully, Brandon goes through and has a great game.”
There is a question of whether the Cowboys should sit Romo against the Cardinals and possibly next week against the Jacksonville Jaguars. With a bye coming up after that, it would give Romo almost four weeks to heal for a Nov. 23 game at the New York Giants and the final stretch run.
Romo and the Cowboys say they aren’t at that point yet.
“It’s different,” Romo said. “It’s not like [it has] anything to do with disk trouble or anything like that, so we dodged a bullet in that regard.”
If Tony Romo plays against Arizona, he’ll have several things working for and against him: Romo’s record under different circumstances:
|Playing at home||36-23|
|Sacked 1 time or less||37-15|
|Sacked more than once||32-32|
|1 or more interceptions||5-16|