- Associated Press - Friday, September 23, 2011

IRVING, TEXAS (AP) - Tony Romo is still sleeping in a recliner, still not practicing and still not certain whether he’ll be able to play against the Redskins on Monday night.

He’s also not ruling himself out.

While tests show his punctured lung has healed, his broken rib hurts plenty, especially when he moves the wrong way. How much he can play through that pain _ not just tolerate it, but throw the ball accurately, even after getting hit and rising from the turf _ will determine whether he starts in the Cowboys’ home opener.

“If it’s just about the pain side of it, I think we’ll be good to go,” Romo said Friday. “But we’ll have to determine that as it gets closer. … I don’t think we can say anything 100 percent right now. It’s just a matter of the day and keep getting better. I’m obviously planning mentally going out there, so we’ll see.”

Romo has been fitted for a protective vest, and done some light throwing. He’s been in meetings and is studying the playbook to make sure he’s ready, if everything checks out OK. He said he’s getting up to five hours of treatment each day.

There are certain movements and throws he needs to be able to make before he knows he can play. However, he’s not even sure when he will test himself. Dallas practices again Saturday and has a walkthrough Sunday. He also could wait all the way until pregame warm-ups.

“There’s no real standard or litmus test that we have with any injuries,” coach Jason Garrett said. “But we certainly want our players to be able to move around and practice prior to the game. So we’re hopeful he can do something here in the next few days, prior to Monday’s game. If we have a good feeling about it, if he feels good about it physically, mentally and emotionally, we’ll give him a chance.”

Garrett said Romo has been cleared medically. Romo said doctors could still rule him out.

“There are a couple of steps in the whole process and we’ll take it as it comes,” Romo said. “As I said, if it has to do with dealing with the pain, it’s part of playing quarterback in the NFL.”

Romo understands the medical details of what happened and what could happen if he plays again. This isn’t the kind of injury that could get worse if he plays, but playing wouldn’t help it get better any sooner.

“You heal up a wound, a scab goes over it and you can open it up again,” he said. “You’re going to get hit. That’s part of playing. It’s going to happen. Just figure out a way, if you can, if you play, to do the best of your ability when you go out there.”

Romo was hurt on the third play against San Francisco on Sunday, yet stayed in throughout the first half. He missed part of the third quarter, then returned and led the Cowboys to a comeback victory in overtime. His performance, especially considering the circumstances, earned him the NFC offensive player of the week award. It’s also helped douse the talk that he can’t come through when it matters most, which was all the talk last week, following his flop at the finish of the opener, turning a late lead against the Jets into a loss.

Jon Kitna would start if Romo can’t. Dallas also is likely to activate third-stringer Stephen McGee. The Cowboys took the risk of being without a third quarterback the first two games.

Dallas (1-1) could use a win over Washington (2-0) to distance itself from the ugly 1-7 start last season.

Even if Romo plays, the Cowboys could be without several other key players, or with many of them at less than full strength. That includes his center and left guard.

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