Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has confirmed that quarterback Tony Romo will miss the remainder of the 2015 season with a hairline fracture to his left collarbone, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
The Cowboys franchise quarterback suffered the injury in the third quarter of Thursday's game against the Carolina Panthers. Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis injured Romo's collarbone during the Cowboys' loss 33-14 loss. The Cowboys are now 3-8 on the season, and backup quarterback Matt Cassel will look to step up down the stretch.
Romo injured the same shoulder in week two against the Philadelphia Eagles and missed the following seven games. The Cowboys were hopeful that Romo could salvage their season, but the star quarterback struggled in his return, throwing two touchdowns to five interceptions.
Romo's initial X-rays were inconclusive, but that can be the case with hairline fractures, according to former NFL team physician David J. Chao. The Cowboys quarterback felt that his collarbone was broken, and in situations of this nature it's best to believe the patient.
The Cowboys will now look to Cassel, but he has a difficult task, as the Cowboys are in last place in the NFC East. Dallas acquired Cassel through a trade earlier this season, but he has yet to get a win as the Cowboys' starting quarterback. Cassel stepped up after replacing Romo on Thanksgiving and threw for 93 yards and a touchdown.
Expect head coach Jason Garrett to establish a strong ground game with Cassel in at quarterback, as he will look to alleviate pressure on the backup quarterback. Running back Darren McFadden will likely see plenty of carries in the upcoming weeks, as he leads the team in rushing yards. McFadden struggled against the Panthers but will look to rebound against the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football.
The Cowboys are technically still alive in a weak NFC East race but would have to win out and have other teams lose to make the playoffs. With Romo done for the season, the Cowboys might start looking ahead to next year, as their franchise quarterback will turn 36 before next season.