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Tony Romo (back) inactive; Brandon Weeden starts

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Tony Romo will not play Sunday due to a back injury when the Dallas Cowboys host the Arizona Cardinals, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Media's Desmond Purnell report, per a source close to Romo. Brandon Weeden got his first start of the season. Dallas later announced that the starting signal-caller is inactive.

Romo suffered a back injury Monday night and took a shot to return late in the game. The quarterback didn't practice all week and was listed as questionable. Rapoport reported Saturday that Romo planned to participate in that day's walkthrough.

According to Purnell, the quarterback has two fractures in his transverse process -- a small bone that sticks out of either side of the vertebrae. It is not the same injury that Romo dealt with last year, the QB confirmed to Purnell, which necessitated season-ending surgery. 

Dallas won't put its star quarterback in harm's way with a 6-2 record.

Cowboys coaches expected Romo to show up and talk his way into Sunday's game, but the quarterback made the call Saturday night that he couldn't play this week, per Rapoport, according to a source informed of Romo's injury.

Rapoport added on NFL Network's GameDay First that Cowboys coaches are already preparing for the possibility that after Romo sits out today he also doesn't go to London and rests up until after the team's Week 11 bye. It's a pain and functionality issue. The bone will likely never heal, but the pain will have greatly subsided by then.

Weeden played well in spot-duty Monday night. The veteran's extensive work with the first-team offense during weekly practices (when Romo rested) and during OTAs should put him in a position to run the offense.

Once again we expect the Cowboys to rely heavily on DeMarco Murray and a demolishing run-blocking offensive line. Murray is averaging 25.75 carries per game through eight weeks. His 1,054 rushing yards leads the NFL by a whopping 288 yards.

Murray will have a tough test against Todd Bowles' No. 3 ranked run defense, which allows just 77.9 yards per game.

Weeden will be expected to manage the game and not turn the ball over. Expect him to utilize Dez Bryant often against the Cardinals' secondary Sunday in a pivotal NFC bout with a bevy of playoff implications.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews every Week 9 game and recaps the Saints' one-sided TNF win over the Panthers. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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