Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett announced Friday that quarterback Tony Romo underwent back surgery and will be placed on injured reserve.
The news means that backup Kyle Orton will start Sunday's contest against the Philadelphia Eagles which will decide the NFC East champion.
Earlier in the week, ESPN.com reported that Romo needed surgery for a herniated disk. The Cowboys, however, didn't go into any details about the injury and publicly remained hopeful that Romo could play Sunday.
Romo, who suffered the injury in a Week 16 win over the Washington Redskins, received an epidural injection on Monday.
However, his chances of playing Sunday were slim after missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Reality set in Friday morning, when Romo had surgery.
"We spent the week exhausting all options regarding Tony's situation, treatment, rehab all the different things. We consulted a lot of different people on this," Garrett said. "We just felt like, as we discussed it, as yesterday wore on, that this was the best decision for him and our organization moving forward. We felt like it was better to have this done sooner rather than later."
The 33-year-old Romo threw for 3,828 yards with 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 15 games this season.
Newly re-signed Jon Kitna will be the backup to Orton on Sunda