Not all spine fractures are created equal. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo knows this firsthand.
Once the pain has resolved and satisfactory healing has occurred, the athlete can be cleared to return. This could range from a few weeks to a few months. As Garrett noted, the Cowboys have gotten “a lot of different timetables for when [Romo] can return.”
At Haughton (La.) High School, Prescott became the quarterback after the starter got hurt. At Mississippi State, he became the quarterback when the starter got hurt.
He is set to become the Dallas Cowboys’ starting quarterback, at least for a little while, because Tony Romo got hurt.
Jason Garrett won’t say it yet, but Prescott is looking like the Cowboys’ starting quarterback for at least the season opener if not several weeks after that with Romo in a brace because of a compression fracture of his L1 vertebra.
For the first time since 2006, the Cowboys will have a season opener with somebody other than Romo as their starting quarterback.
Romo and Prescott exchanged text messages on Saturday. Prescott told Romo he was sorry he got hurt and hopes he gets better soon. Romo told Prescott he has his back.
“But this is still his team,” Prescott said. “I’m just going to try to do my best to hold the fort down, I guess you could say, give this team a great chance to succeed and win games each and every week.”
Roger Staubach won the 1969 season opener as a Cowboys rookie, beating the St. Louis Cardinals by completing 7 of 15 passes for 220 yards and a touchdown. Troy Aikman lost his first season opener as a Cowboys rookie, completing 17 of 35 passes for 180 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions in a 28-0 loss to the New Orleans Saints.
Quincy Carter was the last rookie to start a Cowboys season opener. He completed 9 of 19 passes for 34 yards and two interceptions in a 10-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
And that’s the history Prescott walks into.
But the supporting cast of Prescott is much greater than what Aikman and Carter had. The Cowboys went 11-2-1 in 1969, but Craig Morton started the rest of the games that season.
Prescott has the best offensive line in football with three Pro Bowlers in Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin. He has a healthy Dez Bryant, something Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassel and Kellen Moore didn’t have last year after Romo went down twice with a broken left collarbone. He will have Jason Witten, a 10-time Pro Bowler. And he can hand the ball off to Ezekiel Elliott, the fourth overall pick in the draft.
“I’m just going to do everything I can to make sure I’m ready to play my role as the starting quarterback and to get these playmakers the ball around me,” Prescott said. “We’ve got a number of playmakers, a great offensive line. The pressure is not really on me. I’ve just got to go out there and play my game and be myself.”