Coach Jason Garrett would not rule out the possibility of Swaim returning before the regular season ends on Dec. 30. Swaim suffered the injury late in the Cowboys' 22-19 win against the Atlanta Falcons. Tests on Monday showed a break and other damage, according to Garrett, requiring the surgery.
Swaim has 26 catches for 242 yards and a touchdown in nine games, surpassing his career totals in his first three seasons. He missed one game with a sprained knee but has seven catches for 37 yards in the last two games.
Swaim became the Cowboys' starting tight end after the retirements of Jason Witten, the franchise leader in receptions and yards, and James Hanna in the offseason. He entered the season with nine catches for 94 yards.
When Swaim missed the Nov. 5 game against the Tennessee Titans, the Cowboys went with rookie Dalton Schultz as their lead tight end because of his blocking ability. The Cowboys also have Rico Gathers and Blake Jarwin on the roster.
Schultz, Gathers and Jarwin have combined for nine receptions for 121 yards on the season.