FRISCO, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott had surgery on his right thumb Monday afternoon, and sources continue to believe he will miss six to eight weeks as he goes through rehabilitation.
Given that timeline, Prescott is looking at a return date of Oct. 30 vs. the Chicago Bears at the earliest, but it's more likely to be Nov. 13 against the Green Bay Packers in Mike McCarthy's return to Lambeau Field. The team has a Week 9 bye.
Prescott suffered the injury in the fourth quarter of the Cowboys' 19-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after his hand twice hit the hand of linebacker Shaq Barrett. After a screen pass to Ezekiel Elliott, Prescott went to the sideline because he could no longer grip the ball.
After the game, Prescott said, "I was told it was much cleaner than it could have been." He visited with the team's hand specialist, Dr. Thomas Diliberti, on Monday and had the surgery soon thereafter.
"You know Dak's personality, I mean, he would've had the surgery last night if they would have allowed it," McCarthy said. "That's the way he's wired."
The Cowboys now have to figure out how to win without Prescott while he recovers, starting with Sunday's matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals with Cooper Rush as their starter. The Cowboys are 5-7 in games without Prescott in his career, although Rush won his first career start last year against the Minnesota Vikings, throwing for 325 yards and two touchdowns.
He completed 7 of 13 passes for 64 yards after replacing Prescott against the Buccaneers.
"I think the biggest thing is especially at the quarterback position because obviously the importance of it, is don't overreact to it," McCarthy said. "... Because at the end of the day, we've got to make sure we're giving the players the tools to win the game on Sunday. The nice thing about Cooper is Cooper's been in our system, knows our system inside and out. We won't be in that position of trying not to do too much or vice versa. Cooper gives us the ability to keep playing."
McCarthy acknowledged there is an emotional challenge the Cowboys will have to deal with in losing their leader. In 2020, Prescott suffered a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle that knocked him out for the season, and the Cowboys lost their first four games without him.
"Definitely going to be tough, but being in the NFL, that's all a part of this game," running back Tony Pollard said. "It's a 100% injury rate so guys get injured, so we just have to make up for it. Everybody has to lock in, continue doing what they've been doing and just focus on doing their job the best that they can."
McCarthy said the Cowboys are looking to add a third quarterback to the roster with Will Grier on the practice squad and ready to assume the No. 2 role in Prescott's absence. He has started two games in his career, both with the Carolina Panthers in 2019.