Fractures in two small bones in his back. That's what Tony Romo is playing with these days.
It worked out OK when Romo and the Cowboys beat the Jaguars in London in their last game on Nov. 9. Romo held up during the game and on the two transatlantic flights. Then the Cowboys had a week off.
Starting Sunday night against the Giants, however, the Cowboys (7-3) play three times in a 12-day span. Whether Romo can hold up under that kind of physical stress might determine whether Dallas makes the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
"He's responded well with the adversity with his back,'' coach Jason Garrett said. "We talk about being your best regardless of circumstances. Whatever circumstance he's been in, somehow he's found a way to fight through it.
"He's led our team well. I think he functions really well in this scheme. Any of the evolutional part in our offense has been positive. He's embraced that. Obviously, we're a better offensive unit around him. We're better on the offensive line. We're running the ball better. All of those things are good. But he's had a huge part in orchestrating all of that.''
The Cowboys have the NFL's leading rusher in DeMarco Murray (1,233 yards). Their backup quarterback is the uninspiring Brandon Weeden, who started in place of the injured Romo in a 28-17 loss to Arizona on Nov. 2.
So the week off probably was a good thing for Romo. Stoicism is important, but not ending up in traction is more important.
"I think it was just a real good time for it, coming off a couple injuries," Romo said. "It is part of the game -- playing through stuff. We all do that, a lot of quarterbacks and a lot of different players, and you just figure out a way to get through the game and go out and do your best.
"I think it is nice just having a little bit of time to recover and get treatment and get ready to go for the stretch run."
The Giants (3-7) are quite familiar with Romo. He had one of his best games against them this season in a 31-21 Dallas victory in Week 7. Romo was 17-for-23 for 279 yards and three TDs with one interception.
Romo has thrown 18 touchdown passes and six interceptions and has a quarterback rating of 107.2, second in the league behind Aaron Rodgers.
"He played a good game against us," Giants safety Antrel Rolle said. "He was very poised in his decision-making. He was accurate for the most part of the game. A lot of it came on us not making plays when the opportunity presented itself. Some busted coverages. But Tony Romo always brings his 'A' game when he plays us."
Romo, 34, still is at his best when he is extending plays. There was no evidence in the London game that he has lost that ability.
"Tony Romo is a competitor," Rolle said. "He is a tough guy. He went out there and he played a very good game against Jacksonville. Tony Romo loves to extend the pocket and he is very athletic. He knows how to make guys miss and he throws very well on the move. You have to stay disciplined, stay in your coverage and play until the whistle is blown."
Said Jason Pierre-Paul: "Right when you think you have him, he slips right out your back pocket. He has been great at that. It is not luck. He knows what he is doing as a quarterback. He knows how to extend the play. Big ups to him."