Quarterback Dak Prescott fractured the thumb in his throwing hand in the Cowboys’ season-opening loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, nevertheless Dallas is 4-1 thanks to the play of backup Cooper Rush and a stout defense. Here are five things to know about Prescott’s thumb injury, including when he might return to action:
When was Prescott injured?
Prescott fractured his thumb during the fourth quarter of the Cowboys’ 19-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 11. The injury occurred when Prescott’s hand hit Bucs linebacker Shaq Barrett while following through on a pass attempt.
“I’ve hit my hand on helmets, on players. I thought I had jammed it,’’ Prescott said after the Bucs game. “I thought if they popped it back in, it would be fine. But now I’ve gotta go see the doctor in the morning and get some surgery.’’
What is the type of fracture?
Prescott consulted with a hand specialist the following Monday and later that day underwent surgery, which revealed he suffered an extra-articular fracture to his right thumb. That’s a fracture that occurs above the wrist joint and doesn’t extend into the joint itself. This type of fracture typically has a four- to six-week recovery.
When can Prescott return?
After Dallas’ loss to the Eagles moving the Cowboys to third in the NFC East, Prescott himself believes he’ll be ready to face the Lions next week.
“Yeah, for sure,” Prescott told reporters who surrounded him after Sunday’s game. “That’s my plan.”
“He’s determined,” Jones said in an interview on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM]. “From my perspective, from what I can know and see, I think he’s going to get there. We feel like that, physically, he’s at a position that the risk-reward justifies him being out there, in terms of any reoccurrence of the injury.
“He’s going to be given every opportunity this week to get ready to go play.”
Prescott threw 50 passes in pregame warmups Sunday night ahead of the Cowboys’ loss to the Eagles.
He also took some snaps from center, something that didn’t occur last week. The only work Prescott did, outside of conditioning, was throwing passes to a variety of receivers without defenders.
“I thought Dak took the next step,” McCarthy said. “It was what we’re looking for. He had a good day in the Saturday practice. He threw two sequences, two racks of six in the 7-on-7 third-down and red zone. I thought he did well in that. We wanted to push it to 50 throws today and I thought the guys did a great job for him.”
On Thursday, Prescott told reporters he would start Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions. He was medically cleared to return on Tuesday, saying he feels good after going through two practices with the team.
“It’s about staying where my feet are honestly,” Prescott said. “That’s been all the way through this injury. Honestly, all the way through my life. ... Things happen. You can’t get too far ahead of yourself. You can’t look back at what’s happened. I’m just thankful I went out there and had a good practice.
“I feel good right now. Yeah, go focus in on these afternoon meetings. Just put my mind right where I am and when I look up I’ll be prepared ready to go for Sunday.”
The quarterback didn’t carry a game status designation on Friday’s injury report, putting him on the right track to start against Detroit. Michael Gallup was among those excited to see the signal caller back in practice.
“I was like, ‘OK. He’s letting it fly. He’s back. I already know what it is,’” Gallup said, recalling how Prescott connected with him on a go-ball for a touchdown during an 11-on-11 practice this week.
What QB controversy?
What Rush has accomplished since Prescott went out with a fractured thumb in the opener shouldn’t be minimized. He kept the team’s goal for the regular season within reach.
No one expected the Cowboys to be 4-2 at this stage. The Eagles, Minnesota and the New York Giants — a team Dallas has already beaten — are the only teams in the conference with a better record.
It probably didn’t feel like that on the Dallas sidelines in the aftermath of this loss. Jones, who was wildly enthusiastic even by his standards after the win over the Rams, wasn’t around for reporters to interview.
But a conversation the Cowboys owner had with Prescott eight days ago resonated.
Jones was talking to Prescott in the locker room before Dallas took the field against the Rams, telling him he really had no idea how they would end up with Rush at quarterback for an extended period.
“Why didn’t you talk to me, Jerry?” Prescott asked. “I could have told you Cooper is a damn good quarterback.
“I could have told you that.”
Rush is a good quarterback. But he’s a backup.
He’s no Dak Prescott.
What if Rush gets injured?
After Prescott’s Week 1 injury, the Cowboys took advantage of the new practice squad rules and sidestepped signing third-string QB Will Grier to the active roster by continually elevating him to serve as Rush’s backup.
Each NFL team is allowed three standard elevations for each practice squad player during the regular season.
Grier had to officially be signed to the 53-man roster last week to be on the sideline against the Rams as QB2.