ARLINGTON, Texas — The ambulance was ready as Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was carted off the field, tears streaming down his face.
Prescott was transported to a local hospital immediately and is scheduled to undergo surgery Sunday night for a compound ankle fracture and dislocation he suffered in a win against the Giants.
The gruesome injury occurred in the third quarter when Prescott scrambled 9 yards left, tangling with Giants defensive back Logan Ryan on Ryan’s tackle. Prescott’s right leg was turned out as he sat, devastated, near the left sideline of the red zone. The stadium went quiet as players attempted to process the injury to the quarterback who had started 68 straight games since Dallas selected him in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL draft.
“It’s tough,” draft classmate and running back Ezekiel Elliott said. “You see how durable he’s been throughout his whole career, and how tough. It sucks to see a warrior go down like that.”
Prescott was treated with sterile dressing on site before surgery to wash the wound and fix the fracture.
Even Giants coordinator Jason Garrett, Prescott’s coach for the quarterback’s first four years, approached Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy to express his remorse.
Longtime Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, whom Dallas signed in May, replaced Prescott. Dalton completed nine of 11 passes, leading a game-winning drive that featured 19- and 38-yard darts to receiver Michael Gallup. Kicker Greg Zuerlein sealed the 37-34 victory with a 34-yard field goal.
The Cowboys improved to 2-3 under McCarthy, good enough to seize first place in a weak NFC East. But postgame celebration was muted under the specter of Prescott’s injury.
“I feel terrible for him,” McCarthy said. “He’s clearly the leader of this football team. I have no doubt that he’ll bounce back from this. This will be just a part of his great story. This will be just another chapter of his great story.
Before exiting, Prescott completed 14 of 21 attempts for 166 yards and an interception. He rushed twice for 7 yards.
Prescott also became the first Cowboys quarterback in more than 30 years to catch a receiving touchdown, an 11-yard trick play that buoyed Dallas to 24-20 lead before half.
Prescott failed to reach a long-term deal with Dallas in the offseason, instead playing 2020 on a one-year, fully guaranteed $31.4 million franchise tag.
The Cowboys opened 2020 at 1-3 even as Prescott became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 450 yards in three straight games. In Dallas’ win over the Falcons, Prescott became the first quarterback to throw for 450 yards in addition to rushing for three touchdowns.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein.