Sports Outside the Beltway

Romo Out 4 Weeks with Broken Pinkie

The underperforming Dallas Cowboys’ prospects of quickly fixing their problems just took a dramatic downward turn with news that two-time Pro Bowl quarterback Tony Romo has a broken finger in his throwing hand and will miss up to four weeks.

Romo, who had started 30 straight games since replacing Drew Bledsoe in 2006, broke his right pinkie on the first play of overtime in a 30-24 loss at Arizona on Sunday, according to a posting on the team’s official Web site. The injury will not require surgery, a member of the Cowboys’ medical staff told’s Matt Mosley.

Veteran quarterback Brad Johnson, the Cowboys’ holder on kicks, is Romo’s backup. The 40-year-old Johnson, who won a Super Bowl with Tampa Bay, hasn’t started a game since 2006 in Minnesota.

Romo missed on three straight passes to start the overtime. He passed for 321 yards and three touchdowns despite heavy pressure. He was sacked three times and hit several other times.

Frankly, given Romo’s dismal performance the last two weeks — and, especially, yesterday — it was hard to tell the difference. But there’s simply no question that Romo’s leaps and bounds the best QB on the Cowboys’ roster.

Through Sunday’s games, Romo ranks second in NFC passing with a 103.5 rating. He has thrown for 14 touchdowns and been intercepted five times.

The report is aptly titled “Bad Gets Worse.”

For now, the Cowboys will go as is at the quarterback position, turning the 4-2 Cowboys over to veteran backup Brad Johnson, with third quarterback Brooks Bollinger serving as the No. 2 guy in Romo’s absence. Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips will update the situation at his 1:30 (CDT) Monday press conference carried live on

The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday, and certainly the Cowboys will canvass the league for any available candidates, but sensed desperation certainly would drive up the price if the Cowboys are even thinking about bringing in another quarterback for the time being.

And with Johnson and Bollinger having to spend their time preparing to run the Cowboys’ offense, the Cowboys might be forced to sign a practice squad quarterback to run the scout team. Richard Bartel, last year’s practice squad quarterback, has worked out for several teams since being released when the club signed Bollinger to the 53-man roster but hasn’t been signed and would be available for emergency practice squad duty.

The silver lining is that the team has three games, and only one divisional game, during the four weeks, followed with a bye.

Sun, Oct 19 @ St. Louis (FOX) NOON
Sun, Nov 2 @ New York Giants (FOX) 3:15 PM
Sun, Nov 9 BYE

The Rams just beat the Redskins, so it’s not a gimme, but even a Johnson-led Cowboys team ought to be able to win it. Tampa will be the favorite but, again, it’s a winnable game. Presuming the Giants stay healthy, though, they’ll be heavy favorites at home on November 2 and have a chance to all but wrap up the division title very early.

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