Jerry Jones: Cowboys won't place Dak Prescott on IR; optimistic QB can return within four games

After Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott underwent surgery to the thumb on his throwing hand Monday, injured reserve seemed inevitable.

Or not.

Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said Tuesday morning that Prescott will not go on injured reserve in hopes he could play in the next four weeks. A player must miss at least four games once placed on IR. No matter that Prescott exited the game Sunday night unable to grip the ball due to a fracture above the joint of his thumb.

“We will not put him on IR,” Jones said Tuesday morning on Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan. “If we thought he wasn’t going to be ready to go until after four games, we’d put him on IR. We’re not doing that. We don’t want him not out there practicing. See how he handles this thing, how he heals, mainly his strength how he can grip the ball.

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“That’s not being an optimist: The proof is we’ve got a good surgery, good technique and feel better about it than we did Sunday night.”

The Cowboys host the Bengals, visit the Giants, host the Commanders and visit the Super Bowl defending-champion Rams in their next four contests. Fifth-year pro Cooper Rush will prepare to start those games, and veteran practice squad member Will Grier will back him up.

The Cowboys' offense sputtered in a 19-3 loss to Tampa, even with Prescott healthy for more than three-and-a-half quarters. Jones emphasized his concern with Dallas’ 3-of-15 conversion rate on third down and 10 penalties.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) hits his hand against Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Shaquil Barrett (58) as he throws the ball during the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) hits his hand against Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Shaquil Barrett (58) as he throws the ball during the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium.

The Cowboys will not trade for a veteran quarterback in Prescott’s absence, per Jones.

“We don’t have any potential trade in the mill,” he said. “It’s unlikely you’d have a veteran quarterback who could get back in here and be ready to play as well as those guys could play, even if you thought you might have a talent advantage.

“The people who are ready to play quarterback for us are the ones who played all preseason for us: Cooper Rush and (Will) Grier.”

Prescott didn’t miss a game his first four pro years. Since then: He missed 11 games in 2020 after a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle that required surgery. Last year, he missed four weeks of training camp with a latissimus strain near his throwing shoulder and another game after a midseason calf strain (Rush started and quarterbacked a win).

Are the Cowboys concerned Prescott is becoming injury-prone?

“I see where you could point to that, but I do not think that’s the case,” Jones said. “I’ve always thought one of his strengths is his durability. He’s strong, big, thick, all of that.

“I’m not concerned. I know that injury, I know how susceptible quarterbacks are to that injury. I think we’re in good shape there relative to his status.

“We feel very good after surgery and listening to the medical people that Dak has the chance to be back out there throwing the ball pretty quick."

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Dak Prescott to IR? Jerry Jones says no, optimistic for quick return