ProFootballDoc: Even Without IR, Don’t Expect Dak Prescott To Return Soon

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is forever the optimist and often tries to speak things into existence. The latest “prescription” from “Dr. Jones” is for the “hopium” (derived from HOPE and OPIUM) that Dak Prescott can play before four weeks and thus not be paced on IR.

Unfortunately that is just not realistic. Given that there is a confirmed fracture that needed surgery for Prescott, the more realistic timeline is six weeks (10/30 vs Bears) or essentially guaranteed to play in eight weeks (bye inbetween) on 11/13 vs Packers.

One cannot speed up the timeline of bone healing. As a QB, there is no good way to cast or use a split to protect it to be able to grip and spin the ball accurately.

ARLINGTON, TX – SEPTEMBER 11: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys warms up before kickoff against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at AT&T Stadium on September 11, 2022 in Arlington, TX. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

Without this protection the risk of re-fracture is present. It is common to bang the unprotected thumb on a helmet or defender. Certainly a quarterback can’t be effective if he is worried about following thru on a pass or worried about what his thumb might hit.

Cowboy fans may remember when Tony Romo returned early from a broken collar bone only to be sacked and re-break the clavicle. A re-injury would mean significantly more time out than just letting things heal fully the first time.

No don’t be shocked to see Prescott throwing the ball early in individual drills. No IR means he can practice. But that doesn’t mean he can handle a snap or risk additional trauma.

This is a way to keep fans engaged and Jones has said in the past that he always wants his team talked about. This move will generate the anticipation/excitement but medically doesn’t seem realistic for Prescott.

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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