The Dallas Cowboys say that Tony Romo has not been ruled out of Sunday's crucial regular season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles, though one major media outlet claimed that the quarterback's season was done and dusted.
ESPN reported on Tuesday that Romo was diagnosed with a herniated disc in his back and had an epidural injection after apparently aggravating a back injury during Sunday's 24-23 win against the Washington Redskins.
Citing "sources close to the quarterback", ESPN said that Romo was unlikely to return to competition in such a short time and that he had been advised to have surgery.
If three-time Pro Bowl selection Romo is sidelined on Sunday, back-up quarterback Kyle Orton will start against the Eagles in a winner-take-all showdown that will decide the NFC East champion and a berth in the playoffs.
"He (Romo) is going through treatment ... if that treatment has positive implications, and it certainly has a chance … he should not be ruled out in any way for this game," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told Dallas radio show on Tuesday.
"On the other hand, we paid a lot of money for just this very circumstance, should we be in a situation ... when Tony couldn't play. That's why we signed Kyle Orton for over $10 million three years ago, just for this very occasion.
"Kyle's got a very strong arm, he's very experienced. If required, he'll be able to step in and do as good of circumstances as you could expect."
Orton, 31, has not started a National Football League game in two years but Jones believes the back-up quarterback knows the Dallas system as well as Romo.
"We're in as good of shape under these circumstances as you possibly could be in," Jones said. "I have every reason to think, if needed, Kyle Orton could step out there and really do a good job for us."
A former starter for Chicago and Denver, Orton has completed three-of-five passes for 40 yards in two games for the Cowboys this season.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)