Tony Romo Injury: Updates on Cowboys Star's Back and Return

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 25:  Injured Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys throws prior to a game against the Chicago Bears at AT&T Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo suffered a broken bone in his back when Seattle Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril tackled him from behind in the first quarter of a preseason game Aug. 25.

Romo, however, is healthy enough to play.

Continue for updates.

Romo Active vs. Ravens

Sunday, Nov. 20

David Helman of DallasCowboys.com reported the team's inactive list, which didn't include Romo for its game against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 11.

Latest on Romo's Practice Status

Friday, Nov. 18

The Cowboys announced Romo was a full participant in practice, according to Mike Fisher of 105.3 The Fan.

Latest on Romo's Timeline for Return

Monday, Nov. 14

Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett told reporters the team is "hopeful" Romo will serve as the backup against the Ravens.

Prior to kickoff Nov. 13, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Romo was willing to be the backup against the Pittsburgh Steelers and that he should be active in Week 11.

Rapoport, however, added that Dak Prescott must continue to perform to keep the starting job. Rapoport also noted he was "told the situation has been difficult for [Romo]. He's taken it hard. But he'll be a good team guy, be backup...and wait."

"His spirits are high," tight end Jason Witten told reporters Nov. 14. "He's certainly focused on doing whatever he can in any capacity to help this team win."

Romo's Potential Return Could Cause Friction Within Cowboys

Sunday, Nov. 13

ESPN's Ed Werder (via ESPN.com news services) reported that "the potential return of [Romo] and his increased involvement with the team throughout the week has some people concerned about how Prescott and his teammates will be affected." Werder continued:

One Cowboys source told Werder that some in the organization have labeled Romo's return "The Big Dilemma."

"He's very unaffected," the source said of Prescott's reaction to Romo's return." ... How the rest of the team responds to all that, that's my greatest concern. I'm not worried about Dak at all. Now the rest of the team, that is a concern." ...

The belief within the team is that this squad has developed a unique chemistry -- even better than that of the 2014 team Romo led to a 12-4 record.

"It's a close-knit group, and a lot of that is coming from the quarterback position," the source said. "Do you mess with that? I don't know. There's a concern there."

Romo Recovery Details Revealed

Wednesday, Nov. 9

Werder reported that Romo "feels he has recovered" from his fracture, adding that he is "ready to play" and can take hits. Werder noted the decision has shifted from a medical one to a coaching one.

Bleacher Report's Jason Cole reported the Cowboys are in no hurry to rush Romo back:

Rapoport later reported that if Romo gets through the week "with no setbacks, his rehab will be complete."

Latest on Romo's Timeline for Return

Monday, Nov. 7

"Unlike last week, I wouldn't speculate," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Nov. 6 about Romo's potentially being active in Week 10 against the Steelers, per Clarence E. Hill Jr. of the Star-Telegram. "I don't know. But he will do more. And he's really doing things that are strong relative to last year's strength. He's ahead of last year." Hill provided more from Jones:

Jones declined to respond to a question about what the Cowboys will do at starting quarterback once Romo is cleared to play. ...

On Sunday, he talked in general about being in an ideal situation at quarterback not wanting to have regrets about not getting to a Super Bowl before Romo's career ended.

"Well you didn't ask a bad question," Jones said. "I just didn't answer your question. We've got a great luxury, a wonderful problem to have. We've got some real talent at our quarterback position. I think Tony Romo is one of the best quarterbacks that have played this game. My real regret would be to have had him here and not won a Super Bowl with him. He's that talented. And now look at Dak and how he's playing, his future, so I just don't have a problem with this situation."

According to Patra, "Rapoport reported Sunday on NFL GameDay Morning First that Romo remains in the beginning stages of his return and has yet to fully participate in practices."

Rapoport added this when asked when Romo might return:

The Cowboys really don't know. But it is important to note what actually happened in practice this week. I'm told it is merely a good start for Romo. He has not even taken real team reps yet, and until he does that, he's not even in consideration to be -- forget about the starter -- even the backup. So it certainly seems like the Cowboys are a little ways away from getting Romo on the field. Meanwhile, it seems like they are inclined to ride the hot hand, which means as long as Dak Prescott succeeds, expect him to stay in there.

On Nov. 4, Jones told 105.3 The Fan (via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News) that Romo "needs his back as strong as it can be. We need to see more. [But] I see Tony active in the near future."

On Nov. 1, Jones announced on 105.3 The Fan (via Machota) that he didn't know when Romo would be ready to return, but he noted that it should be "some point near the end of the year" at the latest.

"You want to be very mindful of what you got going. Chemistry has to be recognized," Jones said about what the Cowboys will do when Romo is healthy, per Machota.

"Tony has no issue doing what's best for the team," Jones added, according to Machota.

Garrett Comments on Romo's Recovery

Monday, Nov. 7

"I would take Tony's situation day by day," said Garrett, per Todd Archer of ESPN.com. "He did have two good days of practice last week. He did more than he had done the previous week. So we will take his situation day by day and see how he does tomorrow and Wednesday as we go forward and we will make some decision as we go."

Garrett had previously discussed Romo's recovery Oct. 12, per Archer:

Oftentimes you say, "OK, the injury is healed," but there's a lot of other things that take place in getting a guy ready to play football in the NFL. In his case, it's conditioning, just like it was for DeMarcus Lawrence and other guys who haven't played and then it's working his core to get himself strong. That's been a big part of his regimen the last few years after the back surgery, so he has to be able to get back and do that on a consistent basis.

Latest on Romo's Job Security

Wednesday, Oct. 19

Rapoport reported Oct. 16 a decision on who will start for the Cowboys will only be made when Romo is 100 percent ready.

Rapoport added that the "Cowboys' stance is to remain open-minded until they have to make a call: With the way Dak has played, they have time to push back a decision."

Rapoport noted the sense he gets is Prescott "has more support in the Cowboys locker room to keep the status quo than Romo has to change it. Romo hasn't been around much."

Jones said Oct. 9 that Romo is the Cowboys' "QB1," according to Helman.

On Oct. 10, Cole noted that Jones was confident in Prescott:

On Oct. 9, CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora first reported the Cowboys' plan to return to Romo as the starting quarterback when he's healthy, though the team has been impressed with Prescott:

One source asserted that there is "zero chance" that Romo does not start when cleared, pointing to the commitment owner Jerry Jones has made to the veteran quarterback and the bond between the two. The Cowboys' brass believes it will have a more robust, well-rounded offense with Romo back under center, and that he is best positioned to cull the maximum production out of their array of weapons in the passing game.

During an appearance on 105.3 The Fan on Sept. 26, Stephen Jones, the Cowboys' chief operating officer and director of player personnel, said Romo will be the starting quarterback when he recovers from his back injury, per Machota.

However, on Oct. 1, Matt Mosley of Texas Monthly reported sources said the organization will face a "big dilemma" about the quarterback's role when he's healthy, despite Jones' comments.

Stephen Jones Comments on Romo's Status, Prescott

Wednesday, Oct. 12

During an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Stephen Jones was asked about Romo.

"We've been criticized for rushing Romo back in the past," he said. "Great situation at QB right now."

Jones also talked about Prescott during his appearance, per Machota: "Prescott just seems to be a clutch player. I think he actually plays better in games than in practice."

Garrett Announces Romo's MRI Results, Recovery Timeline

Monday, Aug. 29

Garrett announced Aug. 27 that Romo has a fractured bone in his back, per Hill. Garrett added that Romo has previously played with fractures in his back and that he isn't ruling him out for Week 1, per Hill.

The MMQB's Albert Breer reported Aug. 29 he was told Romo did not suffer any ligament damage and should be training again in three to six weeks.

Video of Avril's Hit on Romo Released

Friday, Aug. 26


Tony Romo walks off the field with an apparent injury after being tackled. #DALvsSEA https://t.co/IILl1huJth

Romo was ruled out for the rest of the game.

The 36-year-old was not on the bench at the start of the second half. Romo showed discomfort on the bench in the second quarter, with Joe Trahan of WFAA sharing footage via Twitter.

Romo Speaks About Play He Was Injured On

Thursday, Aug. 25

"That was probably as tough a hit as I've taken on my back in the last [five] years," Romo said, per Helman.

Romo Struggling to Shake Injury Bug

The team spiraled to a 4-12 record in 2015 while Romo dealt with injuries to his non-throwing shoulder. Dallas went 3-1 in games started by Romo and 1-11 in all others.

Quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson told reporters in May, per Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News:

He's looking good. We had two practices where we've been out here on the field with the guys and he's done everything. He's throwing, he's got good velocity on all of his throws, great movement in his legs. He looks like he's re-energized because he hadn't played, you know, missed the majority of the season. So he's real energized and anxious to get going.

The Cowboys have largely struggled whenever Romo has been sidelined, but have thrived this season with Prescott under center. The four-time Pro Bowler hasn't played 16 games in a season since 2012 and has missed at least one game in five of the last eight seasons.

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