In their respective Week 12 match-ups each Quarterback injured their throwing hand. Dak Prescott got hit in the hand when he was tackled in his game against Washington and Matthew Stafford got his hand stepped on during the game against Baltimore. They both had x-rays and both were negative for any fractures and broken bones. Let’s take a look at the anatomy of the hand:
With hand injuries, not only are you looking at the carpal bones, but you’re looking at the metacarpals for damage. Because with quarterbacks, gripping the ball becomes the issue when you are looking at metacarpal involvement, that’s what makes up your “palm.” Throwing the ball is more of an issue with the fingers and thumb are involved.
Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott
The biggest issue for Dak was gripping the ball. If you were able to watch the game, he had pain with gripping onto the football. Throwing the ball didn’t appear to an issue for him. X-rays negative and he’s day-to-day. He’ll have soreness in his hand but nothing that should hold him out of practice.
Detroit Lions Quarterback Matthew Stafford
Stafford’s situation is a little bit different because of the symptoms he described. Do I think he’s missing any time? No, I don’t. But he described a burning pain. Anytime an athlete describes burning, you think nerve related. I think when he got stepped on, the cleat irritated a small branch of a nerve in his hand. Unfortunately I don’t know the distribution of the burning pain he is describing.
What Could I Do?
For both of them, with fracture being ruled out we are working the muscles of the hand by using a lot of manual therapy. We’re going to work in between the metacarpals. Reducing pain and swelling is the name of the game. Getting them to be able to grip the ball without pain is the first goal, taking a snap from under center and shotgun is the second goal, and finally, getting them to throw the ball without pain is the final goal. I think both will play regardless. They will be getting treatment around the clock with electric stim, manual therapy, and hopefully mobilizations. Mobilizing (and adjusting) the wrists and the metacarpal joints can be incredibly helpful for pain relief and being able to grip the ball without pain.
In terms of exercises, what I’m going to have them do is work on grip strength. Which means, I’m having them squeeze a stress ball, squeeze silly putty to start. Sure you can get them fancy grip strength equipment but I don’t have that and everyday people dealing with hand pain also won’t have access to it. But has they progress, they’ll move away from a stress ball or silly putty and move onto squeezing the football. Progressing them from grip strength to throwing a ball can be very quick, as long as they are not having pain. This sort of injury is not something that should or would hold them out of practice throughout the week. You can bet they will be playing this weekend, especially with playoff berths on the line.