When quarterback Tony Romo was diagnosed with a compression fracture in his back that would keep him out for 6-10 weeks, the team was faced with a critical decision. They could either keep him on the active 53 man roster, declaring him as one of the eight inactives on gamedays until he is ready to return, or they could place him on injured reserve, save a roster spot, and return him to the active roster when he is ready, although not for some period of time.
With that said, the Cowboys have made their decision on Romo. According to Todd Archer of ESPN, Romo will not be placed on I.R. and the team hopes that he will be able to return some time in mid to late October.
According to a source, the Dallas Cowboys will keep Tony Romo on their active roster as he recovers from a compression fracture in his back. Sunday was the first day the Cowboys could place Romo on injured reserve and have him return in the regular season. Had the Cowboys placed Romo on injured reserve he would not have been eligible to play until Nov. 6 at Cleveland. The hope now is Romo can heal quicker and return some time in mid to late October.
Thanks to a recent rule change, teams no longer have to designate a player they intend to return to the active roster at the time they are placed on I.R., although teams are still only able to return one player per season. Keeping Romo on the active roster allows the team to maintain flexibility and use the short-term designation on another player if another serious, but not season-ending injury occurs.
Considering that November 6th is more than 10 weeks from when the injury occurred, I think this is the correct move. Romo has consistently come back from injuries quicker than expected, so why keep him on ice longer than the more conservative end of the 6-10 week prognosis?
This is especially true when you consider that the Cowboys did not put in a single waiver claim following Saturday’s roster cuts, indicating that they are in no rush to open up an extra roster spot.
The only argument against this would be that it may protect Romo, and perhaps an overzealous Jerry Jones, from pushing to return too soon if the team struggles over the first month of the season. Some reports have suggested that Romo could return at some point in September, but the fact that the team seems to have seriously considered sending Romo to the I.R. should temper those expectations.
The team must exercise maximum caution when it comes to potentially bringing Romo back too soon, but there is no reason to be overly cautious. Keeping him out beyond the 10 week prognosis would have been just that, and burning the one-time use of the designated to return I.R. this early (and make no mistake, if Romo went on I.R., the one-time use would be used on him no matter what) could have hampered the team as the season progresses and injuries inevitably start to pile up.