Everyone was looking forward to the matchup Sunday Night with the Philadelphia Eagles with the NFC East on the line. Nothing could prepare Cowboys fans with the news that would be delivered yesterday afternoon. Adam Schefter tweeted this out and it started a whirlwind among fans and media alike.
Cowboys QB Tony Romo has been ruled out the rest of the season due to his back injury, per league source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 23, 2013
The initial reaction is there goes the season. Not to say that Kyle Orton isn’t capable of leading this team because he has been a starter for the Bears, Broncos and Chiefs in the past. However, what Orton does as a quarterback isn’t on the level of what Romo does. Romo creates on the move, buys time for his receivers and his escapability is uncanny and cannot be taught. Orton is more of your drop back passer and his mobility is very limited.
Neither Jerry Jones nor Jason Garrett have ruled Romo out for the game Sunday but could they just be holding onto hope? As of now it is business as usual and “focusing on the task at hand” as Garrett would put it. They will move forward with Orton taking the snaps until Romo is cleared by doctors and have brought in a group of quarterbacks to tryout for the backup spot on the roster.
David Carr – The former number one pick in the 2002 NFL Draft.
Richard Bartel – Former Cowboy who was with the team in 2007 and most recently was in Arizona 2010-2012
Tyler Thigpen – Former seventh round pick who has played for the Vikings, Chiefs, Dolphins and Bills
John Skelton – Former Arizona Cardinal who was a fifth round selection who also spent time with the Bengals, 49ers and Titans.
However the real question is can Romo play? Well he was able to play with this injury in the second half of the game against the Redskins. There were even reports that came out about Romo having an epidural just to make it through the game with the playoffs on the line. Most recently I spoke with a former MLB player that told me “just because he may or may not have a herniated disc don’t rule him out yet.” He even went on to say that “He has played with guys with a similar injury that were able to compete.” This may be the hope that Jerry, Stephen and Jason are holding on to.
I reached out to Alex Altamiranda who is a board certified sports physical therapist. You can find him on twitter @SportsDPT. He sent me his thoughts on Romo injury.
Yesterday after having an MRI it was reported that Romo would be out for the rest of the year. Something premature in my opinion. The following are assumptions based on medical experience and knowledge. An MRI especially in NFL is part of protocol however it is not the only thing used in assessing injuries. A clinical exam goes along with it. Not having any information I can only go by what I saw Romo do in the game against Washington, which was very fluid movement. Little to no wincing in pain. Does adrenaline kick in sure but not enough to mask the injury to that degree. So what changed? Who knows but what I do know is the only reason he would be ruled out today is if he suddenly developed loss of motor function , numbness in legs and groin area and/or the inability to control his bowel or bladder. That is a medical emergency and requires immediate surgery. Which is not the case here.”
He goes on to say “so moving forward the most important thing is managing his symptoms. Just a couple hours ago it was reported he received a steroid injection, that will help with the inflammation in the area in hopes of reducing pain. The rest of the week they will continue to use modalities such as electrical stimulation , mechanical traction etc in hopes of reducing those symptoms. If they are able to reduce the symptoms sufficiently he then has an opportunity to play. If decision is made to play him there is no doubt an epidural injection will be given to help ease/eliminate the pain. I have treated athletes with similar symptoms in the past, the key is to manage those symptoms. The rest relies on how much pain and discomfort the athlete is able to manage while still allowing him/her to perform at a high level.”
Whether Romo does or doesn’t play you cannot deny the toughness of this quarterback. He has played with broken fingers, fractured ribs, punctured lung and this past week a reported herniated disc. He wants more than anyone on this team to win and compete. Should he play is a different question but the fact is this is the guy I want behind center for the Dallas Cowboys. He makes mistakes as anyone does because we are all human. What he does best of all is give this team a shot to win any game not matter the situation.