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David Chao, MD: What’s Next For Dak Prescott?

The injury to Cowboys QB Dak Prescott shows how an NFL season can change at a moment’s notice.

Prescott’s ankle fracture dislocation sent him to the hospital from the stadium for surgery, and his season is finished.

By video, Dak suffered the severest form of a high ankle injury where the bone breaks and the toes point east while the kneecap points north. The details are discussed frame by frame at www.profootballdoc.com, which is free for Outkick readers. Warning: the video is not for the faint of heart. 

Dak even tries to slam his ankle on the turf to straighten it but it doesn’t stay, indicating the unstable nature of his ankle and the fracture. He at least has a broken fibula with torn ligaments. His ankle could be broken in two places. It is possible for there to be injury to the tearing from inside out and thus an open fracture with infection risk.

There is no question his 2020 season is done. Good thing it was a home game, making logistics easier for the Cowboys team doctors.

The good news is Dak should be ready for the start of 2021 and his hopes of a long term big money deal are not over. I treated a similar injury to Darren Sproles (permission to discuss his case granted by player) in his second year and he want on to a total 14-year NFL career and remained as quick and elusive as every throughout. Dak can recover the same way, but not this year. This is why players seek long-term deals.

Updates provided as they come. This piece written based on video analysis and my 17 years of experience as a NFL head team physician.

Written by Pro Football Doc

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.

6 Comments

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  1. Doc, can you comment on the technique the DB used to tackle him? I have seen a similar appearance on other significant eversion situations with fairly similar results. The DB hangs on the waist while swinging his lower body into the lower legs of the ball carrier. Is this just simple instinct of trying to get the guy down or is this a technique being taught at some level?

  2. I think the DB is just hanging on for dear life. Dak is considerably bigger. This is a variation of but by mechanism similar to the horse collar tackle whereby the foot/ankle are trapped. Definitely no illegal but very unfortunate.

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