Jerry Jones: Pain tolerance only thing standing in the way of Tony Romo playing
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones once again has inserted himself in any and all talk related to his football team by essentially suggesting that Tony Romo should be able to play next Sunday at the Arizona Cardinals if he can tolerate the pain related to back contusion suffered in last week’s game.
Speaking on his weekly radio show on Wednesday morning, Jones arguably called out the toughness of his franchise quarterback, arguing that there is “nothing medically that would prevent him from playing” related to the back injury Romo suffered during the team’s overtime loss to the Washington Redskins on Monday night.
Jones attempted to explain why he would put the issue of whether Romo plays or not in this kind of framework.
“What I mean by that is that there’s nothing to his injury that technically won’t function,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM], per The Dallas Morning News. “This is a function of pain tolerance.”
Jones attempted to hedge his bets — or at least backpedal a bit from arguably going down an unwise road — by clarifying his comments and acknowledging the injury merits being taken seriously.
“But it’s a serious issue that you could look at people that have had a similar type injury and they haven’t played the next week,” Jones added. “So that would cause you some concern about him playing.”
Romo originally suffered the back contusion during a sack in the third quarter of Monday’s loss. After remaining on the turf for several minutes, Romo walked off the field on his own and headed to the locker room.
He surprisingly returned to the game late in the 4th quarter, at least bringing into the question the wisdom of having a quarterback coming off back surgery return to a game where he suffered a back injury.
The quarterback underwent an X-ray and received a pain-killing injection in the locker room before returning to the sideline to plead his way back into the game.
While a player’s opinion should be taken into account, a coaching and training staff’s job is to sometimes protect the player from himself.
It did not help that Jones was spotted talking to Jason Garrett as all this was happening, the topic of which Jones later said that he was informing the head coach that Romo was going back into the game.
Jones said on Wednesday that despite the reckless nature of reinserting Romo back into the game, the injury he suffered isn’t considered a long-term one and continued the ill-advised argument that it is simply a matter of Romo being able to withstand the pain associated with the injury that will determine whether or not he’ll play against Arizona.
“It is not, at this juncture, in any way, a season-ending injury,” Jones said. “But it is one that raises the question of whether or not he can tolerate a certain amount of pain in that area. That’s about what we know right now.”
Jones added the Cowboys will take a “business as usual” approach to treating the injury and supposedly making sure that Romo is healthy enough to play.
“We’ll be working toward that as the week goes along. … ,” Jones said. “We’ll just work at this thing and see how he is and go from there, as we would under any circumstance with any type of injury.:
But the issue regarding the decision to allow Romo to return is that it significantly raised the possibility of him suffering a more serious injury, whether it be from the already-injured nature of his back or his inability to protect himself due to immobility or pain.
But in the end, Jones essentially put Romo and his pain tolerance in the forefront regarding whether or not he plays on Sunday.
“If Romo’s ready to play, he can play,” Jones said. “He technically, relative to the medical aspect of it can play. Now, whether or not he can withstand the things that go with that, relative to pain or relative to executing, that’s a big issue, that’s a big if. But if he can do it, then he’ll play.”
It’s a dangerous game Jones is playing with his franchise quarterback. It would be far wiser to take Romo off the hook here instead of essentially calling out his quarterback’s toughness. Instead, Jones should have insisted that a team effort will be required to make the ultimate determination, including Romo, the coaching staff, the trainers, and most importantly, the Cowboys medical staff.
But that’s not how Jerry Jones goes about his business. Oftentimes, at the expense of his own beloved and sometimes mismanaged team.
Putting the final touches on arguably an ill-advised route to take when dealing with and discussing Romo’s injury, Jones got somewhat snarky when asked if Romo’s back injury is related to his back surgery.
“Well, I guess the injury to his knee would be related to his back because it’s on the same person, if you want to take it that way,” Jones replied. “I’m not trying to be sarcastic. The point is, it just happened, it’s in his back and that’s the same area, but there are many areas of the back. I don’t think anybody is trying to get cute with words.
“This is not an injury of the type that he had last time or the time before, two years ago.”
There’s Double-J at his best. Or worst, depending on one’s point of view.