The Dallas Cowboys are handling themselves just fine without Dak Prescott, but certainly they’re itching to get him back practicing and into a game.
That said, they’re going to be taking the prudent approach with their franchise quarterback.
Prescott continues to recover from surgery on his thumb, which he fractured in Week 1. For now, the most likely return game for him is Week 6 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
During his weekly appearance Monday on “The K&C Masterpiece” Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones shared what signs they’re looking for.
"I think the biggest thinking of all is Dak feeling like he can throw the ball at 100 percent,” Jones said. "That’s going to come down to being able to grip the ball, for him to grip the ball how he likes to grip it. To have the accuracy, to have the strength that he needs to make the throws that he needs to make in a game to have success.
“That’ll all be dependent on how he feels, and certainly that will be the No. 1 thing that we pay attention to here. Obviously, we won’t put him out there if the bone weren’t healed or there was a situation there. That is up to what the X-ray looks like, which we’ll be looking at that this week as well.”
It's worth noting that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told reporters Sunday that the bone doesn’t need to be fully healed in order for Prescott to return because of where the plate was inserted.
Regardless of how long Prescott is out, Cooper Rush has done a fine job keeping the seat warm, which certainly must make it easier for the Cowboys to await his return.
“At the end of the day, this is all about when he thinks he can go and when he thinks he can throw the football at a level that we need him to throw it at to have success and win football games” Stephen Jones said. “Certainly, you feel better about it when he’s not ready yet that we’ve been able to have these wins, you don’t want to be naive like that.”
Perhaps the biggest hint on how the Cowboys could approach things with Prescott is their handling of Michael Gallup.
Although he had an injury that limited his training camp and had a longer recovery period, Gallup took things slow. He kept expectations tempered about his early-season availability, and when he finally returned to game action, he looked like vintage Gallup.
Especially with the Cowboys playing a winning brand of football right now, that highly-patient approach might be the best path for a Dallas team that is not in crisis mode and needs a healthy Prescott down the stretch.
“Cooper Rush and this team have all stepped up, all his teammates have stepped up and done their part to win three football games, and I’m sure it helps everybody. It helps Dak … to not do something (when) he knows he may not be quite ready yet to go. Michael Gallup made a conscious decision that he needed one more week and I think it was a great decision. Obviously, you can see he wants to compete and get after it and he needed to feel like he was 100 percent to go make the plays he made yesterday.”
The results of the X-rays should offer more clarity on a Prescott timeline. In the interim, the organization seems perfectly happy to take it slow and let Prescott’s eventual performance in practices help dictate when he’s able to return to game action.