Aaron Rodgers' broken collarbone occurred on Nov. 4. On Wednesday, he entered his third week of practice since the injury but has not gained medical clearance to play in a game.
"You have to be smart about it," Romo said in a conference call on Wednesday evening ahead of the teams' game on Sunday in Dallas. "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. If that's the case, you might be able to go."
That hasn't been the case for Rodgers. After practicing last Wednesday, Rodgers said he felt discomfort doing simple things like handing off and taking a snap.
"It's very difficult," Romo said. "Obviously, the discomfort, if you're feeling it at all, you can't come back and play, but even more so than that, even when you get 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. 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 reinjuring it. That really plays a big role in determining when you come back."
Comparing the injuries isn't an apples-to-apples deal. Romo said his injury was displaced, meaning the ends of the broken bone do not line up with each other. Surgery is typically required to repair that severe of an injury. Rodgers' injury is nondisplaced. In his case, the fear of returning before fully healed is the reinjury would become displaced.
Also, in Romo's case, the Cowboys were well out of playoff contention. They fell to 1-5 in the game in which he was injured and finished 6-10. The Packers are 6¬-6-1 and a half-game out of first place in the NFC North.
Romo said he was given a six- to eight-week timeline but it wasn't until the 10th week when he "could do what you wanted to do."
"It's always an injury that you almost have to wait longer than initially diagnosed because the re-injury factor alone plays such a high role," Romo said.
Packers injury report
Did not participate: ILB Brad Jones (ankle), RB Eddie Lacy (ankle), ILB Jamari Lattimore (knee), OLB Mike Neal (abdomen), DE C.J. Wilson (ankle). Limited: C Evan Dietrich-Smith (knee/ankle), OLB Nick Perry (foot), QB Aaron Rodgers (collarbone).
McCarthy said Lacy may practice on Friday. He was injured on the final play of the first half, though he played most of the second half. At inside linebacker, McCarthy said he'd be "smart" with Jones and Lattimore, and felt the team would be in good shape for the game.
Cowboys injury report
Did not participate: LB Bruce Carter (hamstring), CB Morris Claiborne (hamstring), WR Dwayne Harris (hamstring). Limited: LB Sean Lee (neck). Full: LB Justin Durant (hamstring), DT Jason Hatcher (neck), LB DeVonte Holloman (neck).
— The Packers activated rookie center/guard J.C. Tretter to the active roster on Tuesday rather than shutting him down for the season. Tretter had been on the PUP list after breaking his leg during the first day of OTAs. McCarthy disagreed with the notion that Tretter was activated so he could practice for the rest of the season. "He's competing to play on the 46-man roster," McCarthy said. Said Tretter: "It's just doing whatever the team needs me to do. If that's getting out there and playing a position, whatever position that is. If that's just giving a hell of a look on scout team, that's what I'm going to do, whatever they ask of me."
— Receiver Myles White was put on injured reserve with a knee injury.
— White was the No. 2 punt and kickoff returner behind Micah Hyde. Newly added running back Kahlil Bell could take over as the No. 2 kickoff returner and might have to carry some of the load in the backfield if Lacy's health is an issue. "Kahlil Bell is doing a hell of a job," McCarthy said. "I'm hopeful he'll be ready to play if needed. I like what I've seen. Sharp, done a good job on special teams, he's picked up the language fairly well. He's done a good job in his short time."
— Receiver Randall Cobb, who is on injured reserve-designated to return, has not been cleared to practice. "He's starting to bounce around. He definitely took a step," McCarthy said.
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