Jerry Jones

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones returns to his seat after quarterback Dak Prescott was transported to a local hospital. Prescott sustained an ankle injury against the New York Giants in the third quarter on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020 at AT&T Stadium Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News/TNS)

ARLINGTON, Texas – When Dak Prescott sat up on the turf Sunday and looked down, he saw his right foot point outward to a right angle. He slammed the foot into the ground to correct the dislocation. He couldn't fully. He waved to the Cowboys sideline. And the emotions came.

Teammates. Coaches. Fans. Owner. The franchise quarterback himself.

In a win Sunday, the Cowboys took their worst loss.

Prescott suffered a compound ankle fracture and dislocation upon his foot being wrenched beneath a New York Giants defender during a 37-34 victory. He was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where he was scheduled for evening surgery. Sources later confirmed that surgery on Prescott was completed by Dr. Gene Curry of the Carrell Clinic.

The Cowboys said Prescott is expected to be released from the hospital Monday. It's reasonable to expect a four- to six-month timetable for recovery with this injury, a source told The Dallas Morning News' David Moore.

That sidelines Prescott for the remainder of the 2020 season.

More than an hour of football followed Prescott's third-quarter departure.

No matter the events or theatrics – be it a fourth-quarter stop from the defense, high-difficulty catches from wide receiver Michael Gallup or the decisive field goal as time expired – it all seemed secondary to the 9-yard scramble that silenced AT&T Stadium.

Rookie wide receiver CeeDee Lamb called losing Prescott "probably the biggest thing that could happen to this team."

Lamb saw the injury as soon as it happened.

Instinctively, he turned away.

"I have nothing but love for Dak," Lamb said. "It's just, I can't really look at stuff like that. It's just very gruesome. To see him go down, it's upsetting. There's no other way to put it."

About four minutes passed between the time Prescott suffered the injury and when he was loaded onto a motorized cart. In those four minutes, there was the initial reaction of shock from teammates. Wide receiver Michael Gallup raised his hands to his own helmet while walking. Some covered their mouths with their hands. Many began praying.

To see the injury was to understand its significance.

Coach Mike McCarthy and more than 20 players, offensive and defensive alike, walked across the field where the 27-year-old Prescott lay at the Giants' 18-yard line. Prescott was situated near the visitor sideline. Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, Prescott's head coach for the first four seasons of his career, spoke to McCarthy.

Quickly, the team's medical staff worked.

Prescott's right shoe and sock were removed. An air cast was installed to stabilize the fracture.

About 10 yards away from the scene, teammates formed a line parallel to the length of the field, watching as their locker-room leader and Week 1 captain was readied to be helped into a cart. Once he was loaded, they approached and offered their support, delivering words of encouragement. They touched his head. They touched his shoulder pads. They hugged him.

Biting into a white towel, Prescott fought back tears.

There were 25,147 fans at the stadium, whose seating was limited because of the COVID-19 pandemic. For much of the time Prescott received treatment, the venue may as well have been empty. The crowd fell to a whisper.

This changed when Prescott sat in the cart.

A cheer began.

Giants cornerback Logan Ryan, the man who made the clean tackle with an ugly result, was among the opponents who spoke to Prescott while the quarterback was driven the 80-plus yards down the field. Prescott nodded in gratitude.

Fans then built to a rousing roar.

Prescott – a man who'd just thrown for an NFL-record 1,690 yards in the first four games of the season, a man who is beloved in the locker room and widely respected for his work ethic, maturity and voice toward mental health and racial injustice – let himself go.

The tears welled. He raised his right fist into the air. He kept nodding. He balled up his right fist, kissed his hand and pointed to the sky.

After two offseasons of failed contract negotiations, Prescott is playing under a $31.4 million franchise tag. He is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next March. It is unclear if or how Sunday's injury changes the Cowboys' plan to place the franchise tag on him a second time for more than $37 million in 2021 if no long-term extension is reached.

In a statement, owner Jerry Jones called Prescott "an inspiration to everyone he touches."

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