FRISCO, Texas – It's been established that Tony Romo won't be available to play Sunday against Cleveland, but the speculation about his status continues.
Romo's status has been an overarching talking point of this entire season, and it becomes more pertinent with every passing week since he fractured his vertebrae on Aug. 25.
Of course, it's also an important discussion because of the six-game winning streak the Cowboys are riding on the strength of his replacement, Dak Prescott. And with that in mind, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones didn't want to get ahead of himself when discussing the situation Tuesday on 105.3 FM The Fan.
"The main thing is that I don't want to speculate on what we're going to do when the time comes," Jones said.
Jones said last weekend that Romo won't play against the Browns this coming weekend. But beyond that, it's not a discussion he's ready to have just yet. Although Romo has gradually begun to work his way back, Jones said he's not yet healthy enough to entertain talk of starting.
There had been speculation in the early part of the season that Romo might be healthy enough to return to the field Oct. 30 against Philadelphia. Gradually, that timeline was pushed back – perhaps to Nov. 6. But with Romo ruled out against Cleveland, it's anybody's guess when he might be ready to play.
"I don't know," Jones said. "But I know that Tony is making a lot of progress. His strength in his key area, his back area, is stronger than it was at any time last year after he had an early injury on his shoulder. All of that bodes well for us."
This is, of course, a wait the Cowboys can afford, given their run of results. Following Minnesota's loss to Chicago on Monday night, Dallas is currently the top team in the entire NFC pecking order and owns a two-game advantage in the NFC East.
But Prescott's amazing run over the last seven weeks has prompted plenty of conversation that the Cowboys need to make a decision, one way or another, and give the situation some finality moving forward.
Asked about that Tuesday morning, Jones disagreed enthusiastically, stating that both Prescott and Romo have the mental makeup to handle the current state of affairs.
"There's nothing fragile -- they're talking about psyche, and that's not necessary here," he said. "There's nothing fragile about Dak Prescott's ability to play, knowing that Tony is sitting right there ready to go. There's nothing fragile about Tony. He's a veteran. He wants this team to have all the success it can possibly have – Dak feels the same way. The coaching staff, they don't need to know. We'll just play it out."
That's what the Cowboys have been doing, and it's hard to argue with the results. When Romo is healthy enough to return is still an unknown. But as he sits on a six-game win streak, it doesn't seem like a question Jones is impatient to have answered.
"I do think that, unquestionably, Tony is going to be ready to go at some point near the end of the year and we'll be able to evaluate things at that time," he said.