ALL THE negative tests on quarterback Tony Romo's bruised throwing hand are positives for the Dallas Cowboys.

Coach Jason Garrett said yesterday that the swelling is going down and that a number of tests have confirmed the original diagnosis of nothing being broken in Romo's right hand. The Cowboys are hopeful that he can practice tomorrow.

"It looks like it is getting better. All the X-rays and tests that have come back are negative," Garrett said. "We hope in the next couple of days with treatment he'll be able to take a snap and hold a football and throw it the way he needs to."

When asked if Romo could grip a football, the coach responded, "He has a relatively firm handshake."

All indications are that Romo will be ready for Sunday night's game at the New York Giants that will determine who wins the NFC East and goes to the playoffs.

The Cowboys (8-7) will be without starting left guard Montrae Holland, who was put on season-ending injured reserve with a partially torn left biceps sustained in the 20-7 loss to the Eagles on Saturday. Veteran Derrick Dockery will likely start in his spot.

Dallas has lost three of its past four games since sweeping through its four games in November to take over the division lead. That slide includes a 37-34 loss at home to the Giants on Dec. 11, when New York overcame a 12-point deficit with two touchdowns in the final 3 1/2 minutes.

The rematch determines the NFC East champion, with the loser missing the playoffs at 8-8.

When the Giants wrapped up their victory against the New York Jets on Saturday, not long after Romo banged his hand on the helmet of a defender in the opening series against Philadelphia, the outcome of the Cowboys' game was rendered meaningless in determining the division title.

Romo never returned to the game, though he has since said he will play against the Giants in the winner-take-the-division game. He didn't appear in the locker room yesterday when it was open to reporters.

Running back Felix Jones, who started against the Eagles after missing practice all last week with hamstring tightness, was out of the game soon after Romo got hurt and the Giants had won.

Garrett said he thought the Cowboys handled things right in not risking further injury to Romo or Felix Jones. The running back could practice this week.

In other news:

* Minnesota expects running back Adrian Peterson to be recovered from left knee surgery for two torn ligaments in time to start the 2012 season. Peterson will undergo surgery within 7 to 10 days, then face an 8-to-9-month recovery period.

* Buffalo ruled out left tackle Demetrius Bell (knee/ankle), right guard/center Kraig Urbik (right knee) and tight end Mike Caussin (right knee) for Sunday's game at New England.

* Carolina receiver Legedu Naanee broke a small bone in his right foot to end his season.

* Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler will have pins removed from his surgically repaired right thumb today. Cutler has not played since Nov. 20.