Banged up Cowboys hope to be ready for Giants
Dec. 26, 2011 at 6:26 a.m.
Updated Dec. 27, 2011 at 6:27 a.m.
IRVING (AP) - All the negative tests on quarterback Tony Romo's bruised throwing hand are positives for the Dallas Cowboys.
Coach Jason Garrett said Monday that the swelling is going down and that a number of different tests have confirmed the original diagnosis of nothing being broken in Romo's right hand. The Cowboys are hopeful that he can practice Wednesday.
"It looks like it is getting better. All the X-rays and tests that have come back are negative," Garrett said. "We hope in the next couple of days with treatment he'll be able to take a snap and hold a football and throw it the way he needs to."
When asked if Romo could grip a football, the coach responded, "He has a relatively firm handshake."
All indications are that Romo will be ready for Sunday night's game at the New York Giants that will determine who wins the NFC East and goes to the playoffs.
"I believe in Tony," safety Abram Elam said. "I know it's going to take a lot to keep him from playing in this game."
The Cowboys (8-7) will be without starting left guard Montrae Holland, who was put on season-ending injured reserve Monday with a partially torn left biceps sustained in the 20-7 loss to Philadelphia on Saturday.
"I got caught in a position where I tried to catch a guy and try to pull him back in front of me, and it didn't work," Holland said Monday. "It wasn't the right position to be in."
Veteran guard Derrick Dockery will likely start in Holland's spot.
Dallas has lost three of its past four games since sweeping through its four games in November to take over the division lead. That slide includes a 37-34 loss at home to the Giants on Dec. 11, when New York overcame a 12-point deficit with two touchdowns in the final 31/2
The rematch determines the NFC East champion, with the loser missing the playoffs at 8-8.
"For us, things have gone our way enough to give us this chance," Garrett said. "You can look back at the successes that we had that maybe we shouldn't have had and maybe some of the disappointments we've had that maybe we shouldn't have had. That's the Giants. That's every team in this league."
When the Giants wrapped up their victory against the New York Jets on Saturday, not long after Romo banged his hand on the helmet of a defender in the opening series against Philadelphia, the outcome of the Cowboys' game was rendered meaningless in determining the division title.
Romo never returned to the game, though he has since said he will play against the Giants in the winner-take-the-division game. He didn't appear in the locker room Monday when it was open to reporters.
Running back Felix Jones, who started against the Eagles after missing practice all last week with hamstring tightness, was out of the game soon after Romo got hurt and the Giants had won.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was even on the sideline in the first quarter of Saturday's game speaking with Garrett.
The coach said it was about the plan they already had for the players that came into the game banged-up, as well as Romo, based on the outcome of the Giants game.
"My understanding is he came down to see how Tony was doing and then got the information about what the result was of the Giants and Jets game and told me. It's not a big issue to me at all," Garrett said Monday.
"We are a team. We are a team as players, coaches and personnel people and certainly our general manager and owner. And we communicate. ... We just wanted to be on the same page in that situation."
The coach said he thought the Cowboys handled things right in not risking further injury to Romo or Felix Jones. The running back could practice this week.
Garrett said it's not complicated what he wants to see this week from Romo. The coach wants to make sure Romo can take a snap, grip the ball, throw it and hand it off.
"Quarterbacks that have had injuries in the past, and really, it's a functional type thing," Garrett said. "(The snap) is the first thing you have to evaluate, and then how's he gripping it? How accurate is he when he's throwing it? Does everything have to be perfect for him to throw it well? Because as you know, that position is a spontaneous one, and he's certainly a spontaneous quarterback."