Dallas Cowboys star quarterback Dak Prescott is not ruling out making his return from a thumb injury in Week 4, when his team takes on the Washington Commanders.
Prescott told ESPN's Lisa Salters he could return in a "couple of weeks—and I'm counting this as one of them," adding that Week 4 is a possibility:
ESPN's Todd Archer previously reported Prescott was scheduled to have his stitches removed from his surgically repaired thumb before Monday night's matchup at the New York Giants.
Per that report, "his return to action is predicated on his grip strength, but he is continuing to make progress."
Cooper Rush filled in for Prescott last week, throwing for 235 yards and a touchdown in a 20-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
That prompted team owner and general manager Jerry Jones to tell reporters he would love to see the backup play so well in Prescott's absence that he created a quarterback controversy once the incumbent was healthy again.
"Of course I would. Of course. That means we'd have won," Jones said. "If he comes in there and plays as well as Prescott played...Rush? Played that well over these next games ahead? I'd walk to New York to get that."
"Well, of course we want Dak to be here next week. That's the thing. You do. But Dak and I want Rush to lead the team to a victory here and get another win and get another win. That's the only way to look at it. Looking back when Dak was playing instead of Tony [Romo], it was game by game. It wasn't the long look we had after two months to look back. It was actually play by play, almost series by series. So do I think that it's possible for Rush to come in here and play at a level to win games the way Prescott did when he took over for Romo? Yes I do. Yes I do. I certainly think that's possible."
That, predictably, kicked up a firestorm of headlines and conversations. Of course, nobody believes that Rush would actually supplant the man in the second year of a four-year, $160 million contract. If anything, Rush's best outcome might be playing well enough to become a valuable trade chip for the Cowboys.
Head coach Mike McCarthy unsurprisingly confirmed that Prescott's job was never going to be in jeopardy.
"I'm just trying to say this with a straight face," he told reporters Friday. "Like anything, you look at the whole thing, it's about winning. That's all we really care about. There is no quarterback controversy. ... Dak is our starter."
"I think you need to be able to decipher between GM Jerry and owner Jerry," he added. "He can do that in like mid-sentence, too. I think you all need to do a better job of that. Get to work."
The question, of course, is when Prescott will actually return. On Sunday, the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that Prescott's earliest possible return date would be Oct. 16:
Ian Rapoport @RapSheet
From <a href="https://twitter.com/NFLGameDay?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLGameDay</a>: Still, the earliest <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Cowboys?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Cowboys</a> QB Dak Prescott will be out there is 4 weeks from surgery. That <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Eagles?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Eagles</a> game on Oct. 16 would be a solid spot. <a href="https://t.co/BEl9HoTOHp">pic.twitter.com/BEl9HoTOHp</a>
However, it appears Prescott could be able to get back on the field even sooner.