FRISCO, Texas -- For the first time this season, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has not been ruled out of a game on the Friday before kickoff, but that does not mean he will be active Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Romo, who was officially listed as questionable, went through his third straight full practice of the week Friday. It marks the first time since Week 14 of the 2014 season he has been listed as a full participant for three straight practices.
After undergoing two back surgeries in 2013, Romo has missed most Wednesday sessions to build up his core strength, coming up with the routine after the second game of the 2014 season.
Earlier Friday, coach Jason Garrett said the team had not made a decision as to what Romo's role would be. The coaches have a meeting on Saturday night, and sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter and Adam Caplan that Romo is not expected to be active.
Rookie Dak Prescott, who has a 7-1 record with 12 touchdown passes and two interceptions, will start. If Romo is inactive, Mark Sanchez will be the backup quarterback. Garrett acknowledged it would be too difficult to carry three quarterbacks on the active roster because of the strain it would put on other positions.
If Romo does not dress, this would be the first time since the 2004 season finale that he was healthy and did not play. He was the Cowboys' third quarterback against the New York Giants behind Vinny Testaverde and Drew Henson, but the league has since changed the rules regarding the No. 3 quarterback. In 2008, he did not play against the St. Louis Rams with a broken pinky finger but he served as Brad Johnson's backup.
Romo split the scout-team work this week with Sanchez.
While he is medically cleared to go, the Cowboys want to make sure Romo is game ready before he returns to the field in whatever capacity for the first time since last Thanksgiving.
Last year circumstance led the Cowboys to play Romo after he suffered a broken left collarbone in the second week of the season. He missed the next seven games, which were all Cowboys' losses, before returning Nov. 22 against the Miami Dolphins. He suffered a re-break of the collarbone four days later in a loss to the Carolina Panthers and was done for the season.
Romo had the benefit of a full offseason, training camp and preseason work, plus his game and a half of regular-season action to fall back on in his return last year. While he did everything in the offseason program and training camp this season, he played just 16 snaps in the preseason.
He completed five of six passes for 60 yards but suffered the compression fracture in his back on the third play from scrimmage against the Seattle Seahawks on Aug. 25. For the better part of a month Romo has increased his conditioning work and over the last three weeks he has done more in practice.