If Cowboys aren’t putting Dak Prescott on IR, what’s his timeline?

By David Helman
FOX Sports Dallas Cowboys Writer

There’s optimism in the air in Dallas, from the sounds of it.

Dak Prescott has undergone surgery on his injured right thumb, and he isn’t going to be placed on injured reserve while he recovers.Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Tuesday morning that the team thinks its franchise quarterback can be back playing within the next four games.

“Dak has a real chance to be back out there throwing the ball pretty quick,” Jones told 105.3 FM The Fan in Dallas.

That’s obviously a bit of a departure from the early prognosis on Prescott. From the time he left the 19-3 loss to Tampa Bay, the early thought was he would need as much as 6-8 weeks to recover. NFL rules stipulate that a player on injured reserve must miss at least four games before returning to the roster. By electing not to pursue that course of action, the Cowboys are, in essence, saying they think they’ll see him in uniform again within the next month.

Jerry Jones says Dak Prescott has ‘real chance’ to return in four games

While the Dallas Cowboys received bad news regarding QB Dak Prescott’s thumb injury, there is a shot he could return in four games.

“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 said. “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.”

The Cowboys’ fourth game will take place Oct. 9 against the Los Angeles Rams — a game they’d certainly like to have Prescott back for. Time will tell if he can hit that mark, but that’s an obvious improvement over where things stood on Monday, when most thought he might be able to return in time to play the Green Bay Packers on Nov. 13.

If that turns out to be the case, it obviously makes the quarterback situation more manageable in the meantime. The Cowboys’ next three games come against the Cincinnati Bengals, New York Giants and Washington Commanders, and Jones noted that it makes the most sense with backup quarterbacks Cooper Rush and Will Grier during that stretch.

“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,” he said.

Managing without Prescott for three games sounds a heck of a lot easier than doing it for seven. We’ll see if Jones’ optimism is well-placed.

David Helman covers the Dallas Cowboys for FOX Sports. He previously spent nine seasons covering the Cowboys for the team’s official website. In 2018, he won a regional Emmy for his role in producing “Dak Prescott: A Family Reunion” about the quarterback’s time at Mississippi State. Follow him on Twitter @davidhelman_.

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