GREEN BAY — Tony Romo hasn't looked at Aaron Rodgers' x-rays, CT scans or MRIs. He's not a doctor, nor does he play one on conference calls with reporters. But the Dallas Cowboys quarterback knows a thing or two about a broken collarbone, so when he talks about what kind of pain the Green Bay Packers quarterback is going through these days, well, he knows what he's talking about.
"If you're feeling it at all, you can't come back and play," said Romo, who suffered a broken collarbone of his own in 2010, which ended his season. "But even more so than that, even when you get relatively where you feel like it's pain free, it still doesn't mean you're ready to play — just because it's such an easy thing to hurt again."
According to Romo, the reason the Packers don't know whether Rodgers will be able to return to the lineup for Sunday's game against the Cowboys is that this injury is simply more difficult to gauge than a sprained knee or twisted ankle. When Romo broke his collarbone in late October 2010, he was originally expected to miss six weeks. Even as the Cowboys' season fell apart while Jon Kitna started in his place, Romo held out hope that he'd return. Finally, just before Christmas, the Cowboys gave up and put him on injured reserve.
Like Rodgers, Romo broke his left collarbone, although his was more severe because his was a displaced fracture. Rodgers' isn't displaced but it is a spiral fracture, where the crack reaches two opposite edges of the bone in what resembles an S-shape.
"I was doing everything I could to get back out there," Romo said during a conference call Wednesday with reporters at Lambeau Field. "I know Aaron's doing the same thing. You also have to be smart about it. If he's been feeling good for a couple of weeks, then I think that's something where you could really have a chance to say his re-injury factor has gone down. And if that's the case, you might be able to go."
"[But] it's a little different in the sense that, if you come back right when you feel like you're healthy, there's just so many cases of people come down with another collarbone injury — the same one, just re-injuring it. That really plays a big role in determining when you come back, and [it's] always an injury that you almost have to wait longer than initially diagnosed, typically, because it's just the re-injury factor alone plays such a high role."
The Cowboys were 1-5 at the time of Romo's injury and went 2-3 with Kitna at quarterback. They finally put him on IR on Dec. 23
and finished the year 6-10.
"I think in our case a lot of it was dependent upon where we were and what position we were in and if we had the opportunity to continue to play [by making the playoffs]," Romo said. "We didn't that year, so it made the decision easier on the doctors, I think."