Does Dallas really have a chance with Dak Prescott? Some answers…

Cowboys fans with even the shortest memories probably expected Tony Romo to get injured at some point during this 2016 season. They just weren’t expecting him to get hurt before September. For the second time in three years, Romo has broken bones in his back, and while he was able to play through the transverse fractures in his back in 2014, he won’t be able to play through the compressed vertebrae he suffered against the Seahawks. Early reports suggest Romo will be out for a minimum of six games, leaving the Cowboys in a vulnerable state heading into the regular season.

Chicago Bears: The coaching staff likes wide receiver Daniel Braverman, a rookie seventh-round pick, and he could make the opening day roster.

Cincinnati Bengals: Rookie Andrew Billings will likely be placed on IR to begin the season, while Brandon Thompson will likely start the season on PUP. That frees up some spots along the defensive line.

Cleveland Browns: It’s just not possible to see former top-10 pick Justin Gilbert on the Browns’ roster. They forced him on the field over and over, and he was, at best, inconsistent.

Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys’ quarterback situation was thrown into disarray because of Tony Romo’s injury. Rookie Dak Prescott will start, but Dallas will add a veteran to back up Prescott at some point.

Denver Broncos: Trevor Siemian appears to have won the starting quarterback job, and Mark Sanchez could be cut. Another likely cut? Running back Ronnie Hillman.

How common is this injury? According to Dr. Robert Watkins Jr., orthopedic spine surgeon and co-director of the Marina Spine Center in Marina del Rey, California, it is relatively infrequent among professional athletes.

“Compression fractures are common in the elderly with weak bones but are pretty rare in young athletes,” said Watkins, who treats numerous athletes of all levels.

So what’s next for Romo? The primary focus for the early phase of recovery is minimizing discomfort.

Fractures are painful, and any movement can further aggravate that pain. While broken bones in the extremities can be casted to prevent movement while they heal, it’s not possible to externally immobilize a specific vertebral segment. Sometimes a back brace or corset is issued, as is the case with Romo, to help control spinal motion that might provoke pain. It cannot entirely restrict movement.

Ultimately, pain is the guide when it comes to an athlete progressing his activity; as the pain decreases, the athlete is encouraged to do more in the way of natural movement and physical exertion. Flexion and compression — the loading forces that contributed to the original injury — are minimized in the early stages to avoid aggravating the condition. As the athlete’s pain resolves and his conditioning improves, he can gradually return. The final phase is being cleared for contact, which depends on the healing progression and minimal risk of further injury.

BLACKHAWKS AMONG TEAMS IN CONTENTION TO LAND JIMMY VESEY

Vesey is a two-time Hobey Baker Award finalist, and captured the award as the best player in college hockey last season after scoring 24 goals and adding 22 assists in 33 games with Harvard University, where he played four years.

The previous two Hobey Baker Award winners are Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames (2014) and Jack Eichel of the Sabres (2015), so the possibility of Vesey landing in Chicago could immediately give the Blackhawks another dynamic scoring option.

CANTON, Ohio — Tony Dungy would like to see the NFL’s Rooney Rule used in the manner it was intended.

He pointed to Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin and Arizona’s Bruce Arians as examples of coaches who got jobs because teams were thorough in their searches.

Dungy, whose Indianapolis Colts won Super Bowl XLI in February 2007, has been a mentor to many NFL head coaches, including Tomlin, Lovie Smith and Jim Caldwell.

Tomlin has led the Steelers two Super Bowls, winning one in 2008. Smith, now the head coach at the University of Illinois, led the Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl appearance, in which they lost to Dungy’s Colts. Caldwell, now the Detroit Lions head coach, served as an assistant on two different Super Bowl-winning teams.

Tomlin, Smith and Caldwell are black. Owners who hired them were willing to look beyond the norms, Dungy said.

“We’ve got to get past that.”

Dungy, who turned around perennial loser in Tampa Bay before winning the championship with Indianapolis, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday night. He went 139-69 as a head coach, and had only one losing record — in 1996, his first year with the Buccaneers.

The Redskins will be moving to a sparkling new stadium at some point soon. Soon enough, we’ll figure out where it will be.

PHILADELPHIA — Under Doug Pederson, the Philadelphia Eagles may well be replicating Andy Reid’s 1999 quarterback plan. It doesn’t look that way to Donovan McNabb, the centerpiece of Reid’s plan.