CAN TONY ROMO play this weekend with a herniated disk?
Dennis Kelly could not. In fact, the 3-inch scar in the middle of his back represents a line drawn through his second NFL season.
"I had no power in my right leg," Kelly recalled this week. "They just kept seeing me trying to plant it, and I'd fall down."
This was what happened early in training camp, as the Eagles' offensive lineman tried to deal with what originally was diagnosed as back pain from misaligned hips. An MRI showed a herniated disk, like the one Dallas' quarterback now reportedly is dealing with, and Kelly underwent surgery Aug. 5. He wasn't cleared to play again for about 6 weeks. By that time, Alan Barbre had taken Kelly's spot as the first tackle-guard off the bench. Kelly, who played in 13 games for an injury-ravaged line in 2012, starting 10, probably will complete the 2013 season Sunday in Dallas without being active once.
Kelly said he rested a week, hoping for improvement, before undergoing the surgery, but he concluded he would be unable to play with the nerve problems emanating from the herniation.
"It feels good," Kelly (6-8, 321) said this week. "People keep saying I'm taller, probably because my posture's better. But, yeah, it feels like my strength is back, everything's good. It's kind of a waiting game now; obviously, the whole offensive line has been playing very well, and has stayed healthy, which is a good thing."
Backup center Julian Vandervelde appeared on the injury report this week with a back injury that kept him out of yesterday's practice. If Vandervelde can't go Sunday at Dallas, either Kelly or rookie Matt Tobin presumably would be active.
Special-teams ace Colt Anderson (knee) has not practiced this week and seems unlikely to play in Dallas . . . LeSean McCoy said that if he had to choose between breaking Wilbert Montgomery's franchise single-season rushing record and winning the NFL rushing title, he'd take Montgomery's record. "I don't know; I'm gettin' 'em both," McCoy said initially, when asked his preference. Then he stopped to reflect. "I'd say the franchise. Because this is the team I play for. They drafted me. I signed a nice contract [last year]. I'm here for a while. I think kind of keeping it here, with the franchise, is something special." McCoy has 1,476 rushing yards, 36 yards behind Montgomery's 1979 mark and 189 ahead of Kansas City's Jamaal Charles, who is second in the NFL this year . . . Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis said Dallas backup Kyle Orton is a "highly efficient quarterback who's started  games in the NFL. He has a great presence, and he sees the field well. He's always distributed the ball equally to the open guy . . . I think Kyle Orton is a great system quarterback in that he understands the coverage, and what position in the routes, and he does a great job of getting the ball out of his hands and accurately throwing to the open guy . . . Kyle Orton could start for a lot of teams in the NFL."