Tony Romo's pain key to status

Updated: September 21, 2011, 11:08 AM ET
By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com

IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones doesn't know whether quarterback Tony Romo will be able to play in Monday night's game against the Washington Redskins, saying the decision would primarily be based on Romo's pain management.

Romo suffered a cracked rib and small puncture of his lung on the Cowboys' first series in Sunday's overtime win over the San Francisco 49ers. Romo sat out all but 37 seconds of the third quarter, as the medical staff wanted him to wait for pain-killing medicine to take effect. He completed 12 of 16 passes for 201 yards and a touchdown after his return, leading a rally from a 10-point deficit.

The punctured lung was discovered in a CT scan Monday, which revealed evidence of pneumothorax, a collection of air or gas around the lungs.

"I don't know. I really don't," Jones said when asked Tuesday on KRLD-FM whether Romo would play against the Redskins. "I understand the nature of the injury as much as you can without being in medicine. We'll just have to see how it goes. It has everything to do with just his ability to handle the pain, and we know he has a bunch of it.

"We'll see how that goes. He'll be monitored obviously extremely closely regarding the pneumothorax and we'll see how it goes."

Coach Jason Garrett said Monday that he "would not think there's any reason [Romo] won't play Monday." Garrett did not mention the lung puncture, but the Cowboys were aware of the condition before his news conference.

Romo said firmly after Sunday's game that he planned to play against the Redskins. He figured that if he could finish the game against the 49ers, he'd be able to play eight days later.

"I can't imagine [the pain] being any worse," Romo said.

It was Romo's decision to return to Sunday's game, and Jones indicated that the quarterback could have the final say about his status again Monday night.

"More important than anything, I think that you just have to depend upon in this case the player, in this case Tony's sense of what his body is telling him," Jones said on KRLD-FM. "That's what he did, and he ultimately, of course, was told to sit out when he came out but didn't honor that. We allow players to give us those kinds of reads in most areas with the exception of your concussion area and your head area."

The Cowboys do not expect Miles Austin, Romo's No. 1 receiver, to be available against the Redskins after aggravating a hamstring strain originally suffered in August. Sources told ESPNDallas.com on Monday that Austin could be out through the Cowboys' Week 5 bye.

"I'm probably pretty negative on Miles getting to play [against the Redskins]," Jones said.

Jones said Austin was "almost a game-time decision" against the 49ers because of soreness and tightness in the hamstring. However, the official injury report listed Austin as probable with a knee injury, making no mention of his hamstring.

Tim MacMahon covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com.

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