IRVING, Texas – Tony Romo’s injury status is back in the news – though that’s not to say it ever faded from the conversation.
Romo revealed over the weekend that he’ll be undergoing a CT scan this week. It’s been widely reported that the 35-year-old quarterback will have surgery to strengthen his thrice-broken left collarbone with a metal plate. This week’s scan will determine whether the bone is ready for the procedure.
The recovery timeline is projected at six-to-eight weeks, and Romo was confident he’d be ready for the Cowboys’ offseason program later this spring.
“Really, it’s just about being there for your teammates and making sure – if I play, I know what I mean to our team,” he said on Saturday. “I just need to do everything in my power to ensure that I’m on that football field.”
Even if Romo won’t be sidelined for long, the thought of surgery is bound to drum up questions about the Cowboys’ future at the quarterback position. There’s already plenty of conversation about drafting Romo’s replacement this spring – possibly as high as No. 4 overall.
Regardless of how loud that conversation is, though, Romo said it’s not something that bothers him as he prepares for his 11th season as the starter.
“Oh, I learned a long time ago, if you’re good you just go out and play,” he said. “You don’t worry about stuff, that noise that people talk about. For me, it’s about getting our team to a championship.”
This past year is doubtless one of Romo’s most frustrating seasons. He was sidelined by not one, but two collarbone injuries – holding him out of 12 of 16 games. His absence was an enormous factor in the team’s 4-12 record, as few people need reminding.
Those injuries forced Romo to miss playing time for the third-consecutive season. He missed the final game of 2013 with a herniated disc in his back, and he was forced out of two games in 2014 when he broke a transverse process in his lower back.
It’s understandable that such an extensive injury history would cause some concern, but Romo said he hasn’t felt this good about his back in a long time.
“With the way my back is, it’s as strong as it’s been in the three or four years,” he said. “That’s exciting because you don’t know that when you first go through some of the back troubles early on and have surgery, you don’t know how it’s going to come out, but I’m seeing a very strong side to it now where I’m able to do things that I wasn’t able to do even last year.”
It’s ironic that Romo would speak so confidently right now, given that he could be facing offseason surgery in the near future. But as he pointed out, a broken collarbone isn’t the same type of recurring problem as a back injury – especially if he has surgery to strengthen it.
“The collarbone was a freak thing and that happens, but I think we’re going to do the things that’ll probably allow us to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” he said. “The fact that I can work the way I’m working now – it’s exciting.”
None of this will stop the debate about whether the Cowboys should draft a quarterback – and it ultimately won’t stop the front office from doing so in the right circumstance. Even if that’s the case, Romo said he’s not threatened by that prospect.
His focus remains on keeping himself in the game.
“I’ll be able to play for a while,” he said. “It’s really just about playing. If I play, I’m going to play at a certain level – I know that. I just have to do the things to ensure that I’ll be on the field.”