Cooper Rush may get a shorter shot at quarterbacking the Dallas Cowboys than he might like following news from team owner Jerry Jones that surgery Monday to repair Dak Prescott’s broken thumb went better than expected.
The team announced on Tuesday they would not place Prescott on Injured Reserve, preserving an opportunity to bring him back sooner than the anticipated six to eight-week timeframe initially reported.
“If we thought he wasn’t going to be ready to go until after four games, we would put him on IR. We’re not doing that,” Jones told 105.3 The Fan.
“We think he can come in and play, so we don’t want to not have him out there practicing. We want him getting prepared, and we’ll see how he handles this thing. How it heals — mainly his strength — how he can grip the ball, [will determine] what his status is. That’s not [being] an optimist. The proof is that we got a good surgery, got good technique, and feel better about it than we did Sunday night,” Jones said.
Prescott suffered the injury late in the fourth quarter on opening night as the Cowboys were struggling to get any type of offensive production going against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
On successive plays, Shaquille Barrett broke through blocks and got into Prescott’s face. Prescott struck his right thumb on Barrett’s helmet, causing the injury. Initial reports from the training staff indicated that Prescott had fractured his thumb, a diagnosis that was later confirmed.
By keeping Prescott on the active roster, the Cowboys open up the option to bring him back sooner than the four weeks mandated by an IR designation. Even if Prescott isn’t ready to go in that time frame, keeping him on the roster allows him to participate in practice, rehabbing and working with the two young QBs that will be tasked with filling his shoes.
Cooper Rush, Prescott’s backup last season who got his first career start in a win over Minnesota, is tabbed to start Sunday when the Cincinnati Bengals come to Dallas. Rush beat out Will Grier for the QB2 spot during the preseason, though neither player put up stellar numbers in any of the three contests.
The Cowboys’ options outside of their two on-staff QBs are limited. Aside from several similar-caliber options that didn’t make it onto a roster in 2022, there aren’t many veteran QBs waiting for a phone call at the moment. The Cowboys organization hopes Prescott’s downtime will be on the shorter end and that making a move for a replacement won’t be necessary.
“Those guys know the offense well,” Jones said on The Fan. “They had a lot of reps in it and [that] consequently gives us our best shot. It’s unlikely since we don’t have any potential trade pending — not pending or in the mill — it’s unlikely you’ll have a veteran quarterback that could get back in here and be ready to play as well as those guys can play even if you thought you might have a talent advantage.”
The injury Prescott suffered is known as a Bennett fracture. This type of fracture happens near a joint where the ligaments and bone move in opposite directions simultaneously. The surgery Prescott underwent Monday reattaches the ligament to the bone and stabilizes the bone so that it can heal. Generally, those who suffer this injury have no long-term consequences when the fracture is properly treated.
“Dak has a real chance to be back out there throwing the ball pretty quick,” Jones said.