Dak Prescott Injury Analysis

Dak Prescott Injury Analysis: Kyle Trimble is a licensed physical therapist. He’s here to provide NFL injury analysis. This week, Kyle will give Dak Prescott injury analysis after the Dallas Cowboys quarterback’s Week 5 injury that ended his season.

An already poor start to the Dallas Cowboys’ season got even worse Sunday with the news of quarterback Dak Prescott’s right ankle open fracture & dislocation.

Prescott was scrambling up the field when New York Giants safety Logan Ryan took him down to the turf.

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Unfortunately, Prescott’s foot was pinned under Ryan’s body and against the ground as he continued to move forward, leading to the fracture and dislocation.

Dak Prescott Injury Analysis

Prescott required surgery to reset the ankle and stabilize the broken fibula for proper healing. As a result of the injury, his 2020 season is over.

After seeing Washington Football Team QB Alex Smith’s return to football the same day nearly two years after a similar injury, there is concern over Dak’s prospects for 2021 & beyond.

One thing that can delay that timeline is the fact that the fracture broke through the skin. The immediate concern is infection due to the playing surface, sweat, & bacteria on the skin getting into the wound.

That only adds to the difficulty of the extensive ligament damage & healing required of the fractures within the ankle complex.

If Dak can avoid the infection issues that plagued Smith during his recovery, then outcomes for the surgery are quite good.

Based on the information available, his recovery is expected to take 6-to-9 months for him to fully return.

He will be able to begin weight-bearing between 6-to-8 weeks with a possibility of longer based on damage & procedure. He will then slowly incorporate progressive strengthening, balance, range of motion, and resuming normal activities.

Dallas Cowboys QB Andy Dalton (Tim Heitman, USA TODAY Sports)

As a physical therapist, I’m not concerned about the healing once he gets past the infection concerns. I am concerned about his abilities to return to his pre-injury level.

According to research from 2000-2014, 78.6% of players suffering a distal fibular fracture eventually return to play at the NFL level within 1 year.

Furthermore, 95% of those players in the study that suffered additional damage — including dislocation in Prescott’s case — returned to play.

The study does not address performance after when compared to a pre-injury level, but the high return rate suggests that performance is not affected.

While Dak is not known exclusively as a mobile QB, he may be limited with designed running plays early next season. The ability to pass should not change but the ability to evade hits is something to watch next season.

Early Dak Prescott 2021 Outlook

Dak Prescott will be playing football in 2021 for the Dallas Cowboys or someone else and, considering his age, will likely not suffer any noticeable drop-off in play.

However, he may be restricted in using his legs in the early goings. This was an incredibly unfortunate injury that could have not been avoided, but the hope that he returns to continue his successful career is the number one priority.

Early Dak Prescott Fantasy Analysis

Prescott’s landing spot for 2021 — Dallas or elsewhere — will tilt his value, but as Kyle mentioned, the confidence in his ability to create plays on the run may be a major attribute in deciding whether to strongly invest in his 2021 season.

Both where he signs and the progress of his recovery will be heavily scrutinized heading into next season. –Tim Heaney

Dallas Cowboys 2020 Betting Tip

Luckily, Dallas has a capable backup to fill in for their star and former MVP candidate. Andy Dalton may be one of the better QB understudies in the NFL, given his long tenure of moderate-to-above-average success with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Prescott’s impact on the offense chiefly rested on his ability to extend plays via scrambling and his legs in general. Dalton has flashed similar capabilities in sparse instances — but definitely not to Dak’s ceiling and frequency.

Luckily, the offense should at least perform at around 80% of the typical upside, given the talent involved with receivers Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and electric rookie CeeDee Lamb.

The biggest result of Prescott’s injury will probably be for Dallas to move toward feeding Ezekiel Elliott more often. This, in turn, is an attempt to rest a defense that may not be on the field as much if Dallas can successfully slow the tempo with more ground work.

(Maybe work in underrated Tony Pollard for a few more touches to take the burden off Dalton. Pollard can be Dalton’s new Giovani Bernard to pass-protect and spell the starter in a tandem backfield, as the Bengals used to often do for him.)

Of course, the Cowboys’ defense has displayed vast weakness — especially on the back end with linebackers and the secondary. So this may be a wash. –TH

Dallas Cowboys Betting Odds

PointsBet lines haven’t drastically moved on listing the Cowboys as the NFC East favorite, pegging them at (-125) favorites to take the division title. Of course, this may be the only division this flawed, erratic 2-3 squad is equipped to win.

Their opportunity to sneak into a home playoff game doesn’t improve their Super Bowl-winning odds, though. They’re still in the middle of the pack: 16th at (+4000). –TH

Dallas Cowboys Fantasy Football Tips

Dalton will be a popular pickup in fantasy football leagues, especially those where players can or must start two quarterbacks. This remains a great supporting cast of offensive targets to work with.

Elliott gets a better outlook as a solid fantasy RB1 due to his workload. Pollard may be worth a sneaky waiver-wire add.

Cooper, Lamb and Gallup don’t change much in value. All are capable of WR1 weeks but are more safely ranked lower: Cooper mostly as a WR2, Lamb as a borderline WR2/WR3; and Gallup mostly as WR3 or flex dependent on big plays.

Tight end Dalton Schultz can be stashed as a bye-week replacement in many places. –TH

Kyle Trimble is a licensed physical therapist who also works as an injury spotter for Dr. David Chao. Kyle has extensive experience in outpatient orthopedics, skilled nursing, acute care hospital, and home care. He’s also a member of Bills Mafia and runs the website Banged Up Bills.

Disclaimer from Kyle: My opinions are my own. Any thoughts I have on the injuries are based on media reports, my knowledge of the injury, and speculation based on the information currently available including video and print media. This information is subject to change based on the information released by the team.

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