There is still hope, as faint as it may be.
"We're competitors," executive vice president Stephen Jones told ESPN.
Jones put the quarterback's recovery time from his recent left collarbone fracture at six to eight weeks, which could have him back for a possible wild-card game or a conference championship game.
A CT scan last Friday showed Romo suffered a hairline fracture in the healed portion of the distal fracture he suffered earlier in the season.
"It's seven or eight fractures versus one," Jones said, referring to the initial break in Week 2. "Is that a difference? Some say no and some say yes, to be honest with you. And I'm not a doctor."
The Cowboys don't necessarily need Romo's roster spot at the moment to add Kellen Moore to the active roster as Matt Cassel's backup for the stretch run. They released running back Trey Williams on Monday and rookie defensive end Ryan Russell has missed the last few weeks with an abdomen strain that could land him on injured reserve.
One of those spots is likely for rookie offensive tackle Chaz Green, who has spent the season on the physically unable to perform list. The other would be for Moore.
Depending on how the Cowboys fare on Monday against the Washington Redskins could make the decision easier. A loss would not eliminate the Cowboys officially but would for all practical purposes keep them out of the postseason. A win would keep them in the race for at least another week.
Romo missed eight weeks (seven games) on the injured reserve/designated to return list after breaking his collarbone Sept. 20 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Upon his return, he noted the chance of re-breaking the collarbone was high, and it came to fruition in the third quarter of the Thanksgiving Day loss to the Carolina Panthers.
The risk of breaking the bone for a third time in a season would be at least as high if he were able to return.
At 3-8, the Cowboys are tied for the worst record in the NFC, but if they beat Washington and the New York Giants lose to the New York Jets, they would be only a game out of first place with four games to go.
The decision to delay what seems inevitable regarding Romo is not without precedent. In 2010, when Romo suffered a broken left collarbone in a Week 7 loss to the Giants, the Cowboys did not put him on injured reserve until Dec. 22 with two games to play and a 5-9 record.