Injury Layoff Allowed Romo To Strengthen Surgically-Repaired Back

IRVING, Texas – It's been several weeks since Tony Romo started practicing with the Cowboys, but Thursday should mark his first outing as the starting quarterback since September.

In keeping with the team's oft-celebrated "Romo Wednesday," he spent Wednesday away from the practice fields, instead focusing on conditioning and rehab. The injury that has kept him out these past eight weeks was a broken collarbone, but that plan is still aimed at saving his surgically-repaired back.

"I think just knowing how the process of weeks are, you want it to be as normal as possible," Romo said. "At the same time, it's not in the best interest in the torque you put on your back to go four out of five days, plus coming back on a short week, getting ready to go."

That practice plan typically calls for Romo to go through practice on both Thursday and Friday with an eye on Sunday's kickoff. And even if he has been out of the routine for the past two months, Romo said the time off actually helped him strengthen his back. Without consistent throwing to worry about, he said he's as confident as he's been in his back since he had surgery in December 2013.

"I took about a week off because you can't do much from really anything with a broken collarbone physically," he said. "And then from there you end up kind of getting into the routine, and mine was the back stuff. And it's been built up. I feel like it's at its strongest since I've gone through back surgery. So, I'm excited about that aspect of it."

As for the collarbone itself, Romo made the interesting point that he's not playing through an injury – as he did for most of last season with his back issues. After an eight-week layoff, his collarbone is healed. Now, it's just a matter of protecting it.

To that end, Romo said there's no better way to self-evaluate than to play – which will happen soon enough.

"Honestly, I think every time you come back, there's going to be a few weeks where you're risking it; that's part of when you come back from a collarbone in seven, eight weeks or whatever," he said. "It's just always the re-breakability is going to be there. It's a real thing; it happens all the time in the NFL. But you have to go play; we don't have much wiggle room."

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