Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has undergone back surgery and will miss the final regular-season game and not be available for the playoffs if the team qualifies, head coach Jason Garrett said.
Romo will not play in Sunday night's game against the Philadelphia Eagles that will determine the winner of the NFC East division.
The 33-year-old quarterback underwent surgery Friday for a back injury sustained last weekend during Dallas' come-from-behind 24-23 victory over the Washington Redskins; the Cowboys got the win on a Romo touchdown pass with just over a minute remaining in the fourth quarter.
"The procedure happened this morning," Garrett said. "We felt the surgery went well. Tony should be able to come home later (Friday) and start his rehabilitation."
The decision to opt for surgery at this time was the right one for Romo and the team, he added.
Backup quarterback Kyle Orton will be the starter and recently acquired QB Jon Kitna will be available if necessary on Sunday.
With a win at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, the Cowboys (8-7) would clinch the division title and a playoff berth on the basis of 2-0 head-to-head record against the Eagles (9-6).
Romo, who received an epidural Monday for a herniated disk, threw for 3,828 yards and 31 touchdowns during the 2013 season.
"He'll start his road to recovery sooner rather than later. We're completely confident he will rehab and come back at 100 percent," Garrett said.
Romo has played with pain on numerous occasions throughout his career, including competing for multiple weeks with cracked ribs and a punctured lung in 2011.
The quarterback led the Cowboys back from a 23-14 fourth-quarter deficit last Sunday against the Redskins despite also struggling with a leg injury. EFE