"I dreamed about coming to Oklahoma my whole life," Bradford said. "That's the reason I came back for this season. And I came back to play, not sit on the bench. That's the reason I tried to play after the injury. I'm very disappointed that it didn't work out differently.
"Under these circumstances, and after talking to several people, this is the right thing for me to do at this point."
Bradford added that he intends to enter the NFL Draft if the recovery goes as anticipated. The rehabilitation time for the surgery is estimated at four-six months.
"I'll be up to the challenge," said Bradford, who will work with OU's training staff during his rehabilitation.
OU Head Coach Bob Stoops said he supports Bradford's decision.
"We want Sam to pursue the best option for his recovery and future," he said. "We obviously feel this is best for his long-range future.
"Sam has led us to two Big 12 championships and an appearance in the national title game, and has demonstrated uncommon leadership skills. He is an absolute role model as a student-athlete and loyal teammate.
"We appreciate the incredible contributions he has made to this program and university."
The 2008 Heisman Trophy winner suffered a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder late in the second quarter of OU's season opener against BYU and missed the remainder of that game. He sat out the Tulsa and Idaho State games before coming back to lead the Sooners to a 33-7 win over Baylor.
The following week, Bradford reinjured the shoulder on Oklahoma's second offensive series against Texas. He missed the remainder of that game and was in street clothes for last Saturday's 35-13 win at Kansas.
Bradford, who led the nation in pass efficiency rating in each of the last two seasons, owns 15 school records at Oklahoma. Among those marks are the career passing mark of 8,403 yards and the career touchdown passes figure of 88.
Landry Jones has replaced Bradford. Jones is 119-of-192 for 1,363 yards with 13 touchdowns and six interceptions. Last Saturday at Kansas, he was 26-of-38 for 252 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
Oklahoma, 4-3, returns to action Saturday when it hosts Kansas State in a 6 p.m., kickoff at Norman.