Romo has Broken Finger, Out For 4 Weeks

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Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has a
broken finger on his throwing hand and could be out for up to four
weeks.
      Romo broke his right pinkie on the first play of overtime in a
30-24 loss at Arizona on Sunday.
      The injury leaves the Cowboys (4-2) with 40-year-old Brad
Johnson as the starter for Sunday's game at St. Louis. Johnson, who
won a Super Bowl with Tampa Bay, hasn't started a game since 2006
in Minnesota.
      "Obviously, it's unfortunate for Tony to have to go through
something like this. He'll recover quick, he has a great attitude
about it," Johnson said. "At this time, it's really just
important for the offense especially to just kind of catch on to my
snap count, and the way we manage the huddle. ... I'm excited about
the opportunity, worked hard to get here."
      Coach Wade Phillips said Romo won't need surgery on his finger,
and the timing of his return "depends on how fast that heals."
The Cowboys have three games before an open date Nov. 9.
      Romo wasn't in the locker room Monday when it was open to
reporters, but Johnson described Romo as being in good spirits.
      When linebacker Greg Ellis was told about Romo's broken finger,
he got a somewhat stunned look on his face and exclaimed, "Wow!"
Bradie James said the players will have to rally around each other.
      "We've got to play relentless football now without our signal
caller, our leader, our captain on the offensive side," James
said. "That's the thing about a season; you never know what can
happen. You hope you are playing some real good ball when things go
down, so here we are and now we've got to make some adjustments and
move on."
      Receiver Terrell Owens refused comment, getting agitated when he
saw cameras recording him. "Today is not Wednesday," he said,
referring to the day he routinely talks to reporters.
      On Sunday, Romo missed on three straight passes to start the
overtime, after passing for 321 yards and three touchdowns despite
heavy pressure. He was sacked three times and knocked down 19
times.
      "Obviously, he had trouble throwing the ball that last series
in overtime," Phillips said.
      Romo, whose hand was heavily wrapped after the game, fumbled
three times Sunday, losing one, but didn't throw an interception
for the first time in the last nine games.
      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. He had his team-record 14th career 300-yard passing
game Sunday in his 32nd start. That broke a tie with Troy Aikman,
whose 13 were accomplished in 165 starts.
      In 2007, his first full season as a starter, Romo led the
Cowboys to a 13-3 record, best in the NFC. He set team records with
335 completions for 4,211 yards and 36 touchdowns, including the
team-record 15 receiving by Owens, in a season that ended with a
loss to the Giants in the playoffs.
      It was two years ago this month that Romo replaced Drew Bledsoe
as the starter.
      Johnson quarterbacked the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the NFL
championship in 2002, and is the only member of the Cowboys with a
Super Bowl championship ring. He has been Romo's backup since last
season and threw only 11 passes in 2007.
      In his second year as Cowboys backup, Johnson has seen only
brief mopup duty in Dallas, going 7-for-11 for 79 yards. Before
coming to Dallas, Johnson started 122 of his 145 career games with
Minnesota (1993-98, 2005-06), Washington (1999-2000) and Tampa Bay
(2001-04).
      Johnson has completed 2,627 of 4,248 career passes (61.8
percent) for 28,627 yards with 164 touchdowns and 117
interceptions. He passed for 2,750 yards in 2006 with nine TDs and
15 interceptions - only the third time in his career with more
interceptions than TDs.
      "It's going to be Brad to go in there and prove that he's not
just here for the ride, he's part of this thing," Ellis said.
"Every opportunity I've seen Brad step in on other teams, he's
able to hold it down and get it done."
      Another former Viking, Brooks Bollinger, will be Johnson's
backup. The team doesn't plan to bring in any other quarterbacks,
Phillips said.
      The Cowboys also sustained other injuries Sunday.
      Rookie running back Felix Jones strained his hamstring and was
having and MRI on Monday. Punter Mat McBriar, who was carted off
the field after his kick was blocked on the game's final play, also
was having an MRI on his foot. The team doesn't know the extent of
his injury yet, Phillips said.

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