The Dallas Cowboys have decided not to pursue signing a veteran quarterback at this time, a team source said -- a strong indication that the team believes Tony Romo should be capable of both starting and throwing effectively against the New York Giants on Sunday night in a game that will determine which team wins the NFC East and advances to the playoffs.
"He will be fine," another source said.
Romo received treatment on his hand the last two days, and Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Monday the swelling has gone down.
When asked if Romo can grip a football, Garrett joked, "He has a relatively firm handshake."
Garrett also said that the Cowboys are hoping Romo can return to practice on Wednesday. He said he will not be pre-occupied with watching Romo in practice.
"I don't think it's that complicated," Garrett said. "Can you take a snap? Can you grip the ball? Can you throw it? What's the ball look like when you throw it? Can you hand off? Quarterbacks that have had injuries in the past, and really, it's a functional type thing. Can I take a snap? That's 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. So we'll evaluate all those things as the week goes on."
Romo was unable to return because he could not properly grip the ball. He stood on the sideline with his hand heavily bandaged for the remainder of the game. The hand appeared badly swollen as Romo departed the stadium without making his customary appearance in the interview room.
Romo spoke to a few trailing reporters as he left and expressed his confidence that he would practice at some point this week and be ready to play against the Giants.
With the Giants beating the Jets earlier on Saturday, the outcome of the Eagles' game meant little. Had the Giants lost, Romo would have campaigned more to return, he said.
"I would've tried very hard," he said. "No question. I did a little bit, but the coaching staff decided against that."
Earlier this season Romo played through a fractured rib and punctured lung. He has played through several hand injuries in his career but missed three games in 2008 with a broken pinky.
"He needs to play as well as he can play and we're excited again about the opportunity," Garrett said. "He's a tough guy. He's played through injury this year. He's a great competitor. He's excited about the chance to be a part of this thing."
"We wanted to keep Kitna as long as there was hope," Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said after the loss. "There wasn't. It was not realistic to think that that was there, so obviously where we are with our backup quarterback is Stephen. That's where we'll finish this season, obviously."
Ed Werder is an NFL reporter for ESPN. Information from ESPNDallas.com's Todd Archer was used in this report.