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NFL NOTEBOOK: Romo has season-ending surgery

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo watches from the bench during a recent game against the Redskins. Romo had season-ending back surgery on Friday. (Reuters)

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo watches from the bench during a recent game against the Redskins. Romo had season-ending back surgery on Friday. (Reuters)

Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Friday that quarterback Tony Romo had season-ending back surgery.

“The procedure happened this morning,” Garrett said. “We felt the surgery went well. Tony should be able to come home later today and start his rehabilitation.”

Kyle Orton will start at quarterback for the Cowboys (8-7) against the Philadelphia Eagles (9-6) on Sunday night. The winner clinches the NFC East title and the loser will miss the playoffs.

“He’s devastated,” Garrett said of Romo. “He puts a lot into this.”

The Eagles took a devil-may-care approach to the quarterback questions Thursday.

“I couldn’t care less who their starting quarterback is,” Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Cary Williams said. “I’m going to be ready for Sunday night. Whoever’s out there will be out there.”

Newly-signed veteran Jon Kitna will back up Orton.

Romo received an epidural shot Monday to treat a herniated disk in his back and missed practice Thursday. Until Friday, the Cowboys said they were unsure if Romo would play.

“It was marginal,” Garrett said of the treatment. “What you are trying to do is different things to try to change the state he is in. More than anything else, it was tremendous discomfort. I think that was the manifestation of the injury that he had. And again, (he was) talking to a lot of different people that were experts in this field. They felt like it was just the right thing to do. They felt like doing it sooner rather than later was important.”

NO RECORD FOR MANNING?: The NFL informed the Houston Texans this week that Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning’s 50th touchdown pass of the season thrown last Sunday should not have counted, according to Texans interim coach Wade Phillips.

However, the league is not reversing the call. Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker’s catch with 6:57 left in the game gave the Broncos a 30-13 lead. The play was called a touchdown and upheld after a review. Later in the game, Manning threw a record 51st TD.

Since the league is not reversing its decision, Manning holds the record for most touchdown passes in a single season with 51. He threw two of them against the Texans.

Phillips said he asked the league for clarification because he believes Decker was juggling the ball and the touchdown should not have been allowed.

“Poor Manning,” Phillips said. “He thought he broke the record.”

PETERSON DOUBTFUL: The Minnesota Vikings will play their final game at Mall of America Field on Sunday, but star Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is unlikely to participate in the farewell game.

Peterson is doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions because of injuries to his groin and foot, Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said Friday.

Peterson said Thursday his strained groin bothered him more than the sprained right foot that forced him to sit out the Dec. 15 game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Frazier also said the groin problem is the bigger issue, although he added that holding Peterson out of Sunday’s game would not be a matter of protecting Peterson in a meaningless game for the Vikings, who are 4-10-1.

“If he could play, just like last week, he’d be out there,” Frazier said. “If we felt like he was ready to go, he’d be out there.”

WELKER RULED OUT: Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker will not play Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Oakland Raiders because of a concussion.

Welker, 32, suffered the concussion — his second of the season — on Dec. 8 in a 51-28 victory over the Tennessee Titans and did not play last Thursday in the Broncos’ 27-20 loss to the San Diego Chargers.

He has not practiced for the past three weeks.

Coach John Fox explained Friday that Welker has not been cleared.

“Just because he is still in the protocol until he is officially cleared on that,” he said. “We didn’t want to monkey around on that. Again, player safety is the key — we’ll rule him out for this game.”