Romo has season-ending back surgery

Updated: December 27, 2013, 12:10 PM ET


ESPN.com


IRVING, Texas — Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will not play in the win-or-go-home game against the Philadelphia Eagles after having season-ending back surgery on Friday, coach Jason Garrett said.

“It was the right decision for him and the right decision for the organization,” Garrett said. “He has started his road to recovery.”

Garrett said the decision to have the surgery was made late Thursday, mainly because Romo was in so much pain.

“We felt the surgery went well. Tony should be able to come home later today and start his rehabilitation,” Garrett said. “… We’re completely confident he will rehab and come back at 100 percent.”

The Cowboys (8-7) play the Eagles (9-6) on Sunday, with the winner clinching the NFC East title and a playoff spot.

Kyle Orton will start for Dallas, and newly acquired Jon Kitna will be the backup.

Romo, who received an epidural on Monday for a herniated disk in his back, finishes the season having thrown for 3,828 yards and 31 touchdowns. 

Romo has played through pain countless times throughout his career, including playing multiple weeks with a cracked rib and punctured lung during the 2011 season. He managed to continue to play in last week’s game against the Washington Redskins, directing a late game-winning drive with pain down his right leg.

Romo was 0-3 in regular-season finales with the division title at stake. The first of those defeats came in Philadelphia, 44-6 in 2008. Romo had three interceptions in last year’s 28-18 loss at Washington following a 31-14 defeat to the New York Giants to close the 2011 season.

That’s also the last day Orton started a regular-season game — with Kansas City. He’s never led a team to the postseason and hasn’t started a late-season game with playoff implications since going 0-4 to close 2009 as Denver was eliminated.

Todd Archer of ESPN.com and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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