By Matthew Postins
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo had back surgery on Friday morning and is out of the rest of the season, head coach Jason Garrett announced during his final news conference of the week.
Romo’s surgery puts an end to speculation about his status for Sunday’s game, which will determine the NFC East champion.
Kyle Orton will be the Cowboys’ starting quarterback. Garrett said the Cowboys have been preparing all week under the assumption that Orton would start.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported that Romo had a back issue, reporting that he had a herniated disk in his back. The Cowboys never confirmed the report, saying all week that Romo was “day-to-day” and was undergoing treatment. Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones went so far as to say on Tuesday that there was nothing structurally that would rule Romo out as long as he was cleared to play.
On Friday Garrett said Romo and the Cowboys spent the week exploring all of Romo’s options for treatment, rehabilitation and surgery. By Thursday afternoon Garrett said the organization and Romo had determined that surgery was the best course of action.
“We anticipate this surgery solving the issue he had during the game,” Garrett said.
Romo also showed little improvement in his condition, according to Garrett.
“If it was improvement it was marginal,” Garrett said. “You try to do things to change the state that he was in. There was tremendous discomfort. We spoke to several experts and they felt that doing it sooner rather than later was important.”
Dr. Drew Dossett performed the surgery and Garrett said that Romo could be home as early as Friday evening.
Garrett said the injury and surgery were unrelated to the surgery Romo underwent earlier this year for a cyst in his back. He also said Romo reported no issues with his back leading up to last week’s game against Washington.
Romo injured his back while spinning out of a tackle in the fourth quarter of last Sunday’s win over Washington. Romo played most of the fourth quarter with the injury. He reportedly underwent an epidural earlier this week for pain.