Cowboys QB Dak Prescott will undergo surgery to repair a fracture in his right thumb and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks. The fracture could have occurred on one of two plays, both involving Prescott’s throwing hand colliding with the outstretched arms of Buccaneers linebacker Shaq Barrett.
In the fourth quarter of Dallas’ 19-3 loss to Tampa Bay, Prescott and the Cowboys were attempting to mount a comeback and went with a pass-heavy attack. The Buccaneers – who had dominated Dallas’ offensive line up to that point – applied heavy pressure on Prescott. On sequential plays, OLB Shaq Barrett broke through the Cowboys’ offensive line and collided with Prescott as he completed the follow through motion of his pass.
After the second pass, Prescott jogged off the field and pointed at his hand when speaking with medical staff. He would say after the game that he thought he had just jammed it, but a locker room x-ray determined it was a fracture.
Thumb fractures often require surgery given the forces that surround the thumb, as well as the structures involved and its day-to-day function. Prescott’s surgery will require the insertion of a plate and a pin to stabilize the metacarpophalangeal (MP) joint, meaning this is more than likely what’s known as a Bennett fracture.
Bennett fractures occur at the base of the metacarpal and are intraarticular (crosses a joint’s surface). More specifically, Bennett fractures involve the separation of the palmar ulnar aspect from the first metacarpal.
Complications can occur if there is any ligament damage, but it will have to be addressed after the pin and plate are inserted. Based on the mechanism of injury, Dak could also have UCL damage. This is the main ligament at the base of the thumb that is important for stability. If there is a tear, his recovery will take longer than the 6-8 week timeline Dallas has given.
While the Cowboys want Prescott back as quickly as possible, he is likely to be out on the longer end of his expected recovery window. The thumb is the most important part of gripping the football, and it needs adequate time to heal before throwing. Don’t be surprised if Dak is out until around Thanksgiving, and possibly longer if there is also damage to the UCL.