"Romo has a hairline fracture and is out for the year. No surgery," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said on 105.3 The Fan (via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News).
Romo threw for 106 yards and three picks before he suffered the injury with the Panthers ahead, 30-6. Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis sacked Romo and brought him to the ground hard, and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports said at the time it "certainly appeared like Tony Romo grabbed the left shoulder where he suffered the last break."
Thursday was only Romo's second game back after he broke his collarbone earlier in the season. Romo suffered the original setback in Week 2, and the team proceeded to go 0-7 without him and watched its once promising postseason hopes all but disappear.
Matt Cassel took over for Romo on Thursday after the starter left with the injury. Cassel threw for a touchdown in garbage time but still only has five touchdown passes and five interceptions on the season. He was impressive against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 9 with 299 passing yards and three touchdowns but has been lackluster in every other game and doesn't have a win this year.
The Cowboys also started Brandon Weeden for three games in 2015, but he went 0-3 and was released.
Dallas is 3-8 on the season and three games behind the 5-5 New York Giants in the loss column in the dismal NFC East.
Making the playoffs was a long shot for the Cowboys even if Romo stayed healthy, but this setback feels like a death sentence for their season. Dallas fans can take solace in the fact their team should receive a favorable pick in the upcoming NFL draft based on its record—it is officially time to start looking toward next year and beyond.