Tony Romo out rest of season with back injury, report says; Jason Garrett denies that (updated)

December 23, 2013

Tony Romo slipped on the turf Sunday in the win over Washington. (Alex Brandon / AP)

Dallas Cowboys Coach Jason Garrett denied an ESPN report that quarterback Tony Romo would miss the rest of the Dallas Cowboys’ season because of a back injury he suffered in the team’s victory Sunday over the Washington Redskins, but ESPN stood by its reporting.

“We have not made that determination at all,” Garrett said after opening a late-afternoon press conference with a big smile.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter had reported that Romo would not not play in the team’s regular-season finale against Sunday night against the Philadelphia Eagles and, should the Cowboys make the playoffs, in the postseason. The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and USA Today’s Jarrett Bell reported that Romo has a herniated disk; ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported the same thing and said Romo could require surgery. “He’s out for the season,” Schefter said. “He’s not going to play again [this year]. They can spin it any way they want it, but the fact of the matter is … he’s got a herniated disk in his back and it’s severe enough that he cannot play in the game. … They know that with this particular injury he’s not going to be playing again this season.”

That starting duty would fall to Kyle Orton, who is 35-34 in 69 starts, if Romo cannot play. Orton, who hasn’t started since 2011 and has taken 22 snaps with the Cowboys in two years, is the only other quarterback on the roster. Garrett indicated that the team would sign a backup because Romo’s availability for practice was uncertain.

“He’s going to get treatment each day and we’ll evaluate it on a day-to-day basis,” Garrett said. “Obviously he was able to play through it [against the Redskins]. He’s getting treatment and the MRI is part of the evaluation.”

Initially, the injury was believed to be minor because Romo finished the game Sunday and he said the injury was not on the same side of the back on which he had surgery to remove a cyst last spring. After the game Sunday, Romo admitted his back was sore before the game and bothered him after a hit in the first half.

“That triggered it a little bit,” Romo said Sunday. “Whatever the kid did on that one play, it really sent something that didn’t feel comfortable. But it’s in a completely different spot than the back stuff I had last year, so that’s a good sign.”

Despite the pain, Romo led the Cowboys, who will play for the NFC East title Sunday, to a come-from-behind win over the Redskins.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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Cindy Boren · December 23, 2013