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Greg Romeus to have back surgery

Pittsburgh star defensive end Greg Romeus will undergo surgery Thursday to repair a disc in his lower back. He is expected to miss several games, though head coach Dave Wannstedt said he hoped to have Romeus back "for the conclusion of the season."

Romeus sat out much of fall practice with the back issue and was ineffective in the season-opening loss at Utah. He did not play in last Saturday's game against New Hampshire.

"Our top priority is doing what is best for Greg," Wannstedt said in a statement released by the school. "After consulting with him, his family and our medical staff, it was determined that immediate surgery is the best option for Greg both personally and athletically."

Romeus, a senior, was named the Big East's co-defensive player of the year last season and appeared on several preseason All-America teams. A finalist for the 2009 Ted Hendricks Award for the nation's top defensive end, Romeus had 43 tackles, a team-high eight sacks and three forced fumbles a year ago.

Pittsburgh is off this week, then plays host to Miami on Sept. 23.

Brian Bennett covers Big East football for ESPN.com.