Romo suffered an L1 compression fracture in his back against the Seattle Seahawks on Aug. 25, and sources told paper that the timetable for his return is close to the length of time he would be sidelined if placed on injured reserve/designated to return.
With rookie Dak Prescott thrust into a starting role due to Romo's injury, the Cowboys signed quarterback Jerrod Johnson as a backup to Jameill Showers for Thursday's preseason finale against the Houston Texans.
Johnson was released by the Ravens last week, finishing 2-for-8 for 19 yards and an interception in two preseason games. He has had stints with five NFL teams, never taking a regular-season snap, as well as playing in the UFL and CFL.
The initial reported timeframe for Romo to be sidelined was 6-10 weeks, but if placed on injured reserve he would not be eligible to return until Dallas' game against Cleveland on Nov. 6, placing his current recovery time closer to 8-10 weeks.
Teams have until 4 p.m. ET on Saturday to set their initial 53-man rosters, and the Cowboys will wait until after that time before making any potential move with Romo.
"We're certainly getting our hands around it,'' Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said. "We need to make that decision obviously sometime later in the weekend.
"Whatever we do with him, he needs to be on our 53 when we cut. You've got to have him through the 53-cut before you put him on designated return, if we wanted to consider that. But it may be we keep him on the roster.
"We'll just see.''
The Cowboys have a Week 7 bye, then return to play Philadelphia on Oct. 30. So if Romo is not expected to play through the first six weeks of the season, the team may decide it makes more sense to place him on injured reserve to free up a roster spot. If there is potential he could return by mid-October, the Cowboys could better justify keeping him on the active roster.
Prescott will open the season as the Cowboys' starting quarterback. First-year player Showers was the only other quarterback on the current roster prior to Thursday's signing of Johnson, although Dallas is expected to add an experienced veteran before the Sept. 11 season opener at home against the New York Giants.
Despite Romo's recent injury history, including twice breaking his collarbone last season, Jones insists the team is not concerned about his durability.
"He's very driven, driven to do what it takes to get back,'' Jones said. "We've really done a lot of research on this. I think this was a freak accident.
"It's unfortunate for Tony to have some of these things, but I think the last thing in the world we're worried about with Tony is being fragile. He is undeterred, and he really believes this team does have a different sort of mind-set with him not being here and that we can win games and when he does get back, we're ready to make a run.
"When Tony gets back, the team will be ready for him.''