ProFootballDoc: Dallas Cowboys Lose the Game and Their Starting QB

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The Dallas Cowboys were dominated by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday and added to that insult was a significant injury to starting quarterback Dak Prescott.

Prescott left late in the game after his throwing hand collided with defenders. By video, there is a worry of a fracture at the base of the thumb which would require surgery with likely plate/screws/pins. Pending more information, the likely absence would be approximately six weeks.

Jerry Jones indicated it was “above the thumb, back behind the joint”. That is a layman’s description of a likely base of the thumb fracture which can be unstable and affect Prescott’s grip.

Head coach Mike McCarthy later confirmed the fracture and grip problems.

Dak Prescott’s Return From Injury Timeline

This is a different injury than Drew Bress when he tore the ulnar collateral ligament and returned in six weeks; that timeline may be the minimum in this situation.


Prescott can return and play with hardware in the thumb but the bone still needs to heal. Plus quarterbacks can’t be shy about following thru on a throw and risking being hit on the hand. It will take solid healing before Prescott can return.

This is obviously the more significant issue for the Cowboys than the Week 1 loss. This is the third straight season that Prescott will miss time. Two years ago it was the ankle fracture dislocation, last year it was one game for the calf but it bothered him for longer, and now the base of thumb fracture—three very different and bad luck injuries in three years.

Written by Dr. David Chao

David Chao, MD -- known digitally as Pro Football Doc -- is an expert contributor for Outkick. Chao spent 17 seasons as the team doctor for the San Diego Chargers (1997-2013) and is part of the medical team at OASIS in San Diego where he treats and specializes in orthopedic sports injuries, working with high-profile professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, and MLB.

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