By Dwain Price Texas Metro News
On second thought, maybe Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott won’t be sidelined for an extended period of time after all.
Prescott had surgery Monday on his injured right thumb and was told by doctors that he will be sidelined for six-to-eight weeks. But on 105.3 The Fan on Tuesday, owner Jerry Jones said not so fast.
By Jones’ calculation, the Cowboys won’t put Prescott on the injured reserve list. He added that his star quarterback could invariably return to the lineup as soon as the Oct. 9 game against the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams.
“If we thought he wasn’t going to be ready to go until after four games, we would put him on IR (injured reserve),” Jones told The Fan. “We’re not doing that.
“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.”
Prescott injured his thumb in the fourth quarter of this past Sunday’s season-opening 19-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His injury sent shock waves throughout Cowboys Nation, with some fans fearing the season was already a loss cause before it could get off the ground.
Cooper Rush will step in and fill the void vacated by Prescott. And his job is to jump-start a Cowboys team which was the only one in the NFL team that didn’t score a touchdown during the season’s first week.
“Let’s not hit the panic (button) as if we just can’t do anything on offense,” Prescott said. “The coaching staff will find the best position and best spot to put Cooper Rush in each and every game.”
Jones said the Cowboys would not rush out and acquire another quarterback while Prescott is on the mend. Instead, he’s leaving the quarterbacking duties to Cooper Rush and Will Grier.
Last year when Prescott sat out a game at Minnesota with a strained calf, Rush started and completed 24-of-40 passes for 325 yards and two touchdowns while leading the Cowboys to a come-from-behind 20-16 victory over the Vikings.
The Cowboys, who host the defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, are hoping for some similar magic from Rush until Prescott returns.
“He’s really smart,” offensive coordinator Kellen Moore said of Rush. “He has a great ability to process defenses very quickly and get the ball out of his hands.
“I think he showed a number of different things that way when he played at Minnesota. I think he’s had his moment, he’s taken advantage of it, so we’re fortunate to have a guy like him who can hopefully hop in here and go.”
No one is expecting Rush to rush out and pick up where he left off against the Vikings. Particularly since Prescott had unimaginable struggles against the Bucs while working with a revamped offensive line and a group of young receivers.
In all, Prescott had one of his worst games ever as he completed just 14 passes in 29 attempts for 134 yards and an interception against Tampa Bay. And as he reflects on the immediate future, Prescott said, “Obviously, I’m going to miss some time and not be there for my team. And that’s what hurts more than anything, especially after the start that we just put out there.”
It was a start that turned out to be a punch in the gut for the Cowboys.
“It’s just a start, but a hard way to start, a very disappointing start,” Jones said. “There’s nobody in that locker room that expected us to play like we played (Sunday).
“We’ll have to have Cooper step up. He’ll be getting all the reps and we’ll go from there.”
Rush is steadfastly ready for the tall task ahead.
“You’ve got to make things click as if (Prescott) was in there,” he said. “We’ll draw on that experience last year big-time.
“I got my feet wet last year. We’ll regroup as a team and a group on offense, and we’ll be alright.”
That’s the narrative the Cowboys are spreading. Whether it takes shape remains to be seen.
Two years ago when Prescott suffered a season-ending ankle injury, the Cowboys posted a 4-7 record the rest of that season and missed the playoffs. But coach Mike McCarthy doesn’t want his team over-reacted to another serious injury by Prescott.
“I’ll just say this: Stick to the journey,” McCarthy said. “Our theme this year is resilience.
“We knew that we were going to have challenges. You can’t get to where you want to go without them, and we had a bunch in week one.”
Jones is just hopeful that his timetable for Prescott’s return will ring true.
“How he can grip the ball (will primarily decide) what his status is,” Jones said. “The proof is that we got a good surgery, got good technique and feel better about it than we did Sunday night.”