IRVING — Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo underwent surgery on his back Friday morning and will miss the rest of the season.
During a news conference Monday morning, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said the surgery was performed as a result of an injury Romo suffered during Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins.
"Kyle Orton will be our starter in the ball game," Garrett said. "We spent the week exhausting all options in regards to Tony's situation — treatment, rehab, all the different things. After consulting a lot of different people on this, we felt this was the best decision for him and our organization moving forward."
The Cowboys won Sunday's game 24-23.
"Since his injury on Sunday, we had been hoping that he would respond to the treatment," said Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on his radio show. "We were advised by many people the quicker you can relieve those symptoms, the better he would be in the long-term recovery."
Jones said Romo was still in recovery when Garrett made the announcement Friday morning at Valley Ranch.
Neither Garrett nor Jones revealed the specific type of surgery Romo received.
"We feel like it went well," Garrett said. "We anticipate the surgery solving the issue he had. We certainly hope he'll be back sooner rather than later."
Jones said Romo's surgery came as a last resort for the quarterback.
"He was really holding out," Jones said. "And if he could function, he wanted to play."
However, Garrett said the surgery was inevitable days after the quarterback received an epidural Monday for a herniated disk. Garrett said despite treatments, Romo continued to feel "tremendous discomfort."
"We felt it was better to have this done sooner rather than later," he said.
The surgery lets the team move forward in their preparations against the Eagles Sunday night.
"We've been operating as if Kyle Orton is going to be our starting quarterback," Garrett said. "He's been taking all the reps all week long. At the same time, we were trying help Tony and do everything we could to get him back as quickly as possible."
Orton, who's in his second season serving as Romo's backup, has thrown only 15 passes for the Cowboys. Now, he'll start in the team's biggest game of the year. The team that proves victorious Sunday also wins the NFC East and advances to the playoffs. The loser will go home.
"[Romo], like everyone, put so much into this," Garrett said. "These are the kind of games that everybody lives to play in. Tony did an unbelievable job to get to this point."