What difference a week makes in the NFL.

This time last week, it was pretty much End of Days for the Dallas Cowboys. Many wrote them off after the news broke that quarterback Dak Prescott’s hand surgery was going to sideline him for around 6-8 weeks.

But on this Wednesday, the outlook is much different after the Cowboys’ 20-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Now, the conversation has shifted toward how the defense -and just enough solid play from quarterback Cooper Rush- can keep this team hanging around until Prescott comes back.

There’s plenty of optimism surrounding the Cowboys right now, albeit a controlled sense of optimism, which can be constituted as realism, I guess. But owner Jerry Jones threw a batch of delusion into the mix after he said Tuesday he was optimistic that Prescott could actually return to the playing field in two weeks.

“[I] don’t know that anybody knows when he can get into the strength area where he can grasp [the ball]. [But when he does] then you’ll see probably a real advancement in his timeline,” Jones said Tuesday on 105.3 The Fan’s Shan & RJ. “I don’t know when that is. I do know that I think after a good airing out last week, everybody recognizes that he will be back sooner rather than later as far as the timeline. It really could be as minimal as two weeks up here in my mind.”

Well, according to NFL Network‘s Ian Rapoport, that’s far from the situation.

“That did not seem feasible to me,” Rapoport said Wednesday morning on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football. “And based on my understanding the timeline basically goes like this: It’ll be 7-10 days for Dak Prescott just to heal the wound. Then about another 10 days-two weeks to reduce the swelling. Then another 2-3 weeks to make sure that he can grip an NFL football.

“That’s essentially the timeline and that does not lead me to two weeks. Now, there’s an outside chance that Dak Prescott would be able to play a little after four weeks. That would also be optimistic, but theoretically possible. So, either way, it is not expected be an extended absence, I would say. The mid-October game against the Philadelphia Eagles would be probably the first realistic time we will see Dak Prescott.”

Jones’ timeline revolves around when Prescott can grip the ball. According to Rapoport, that’s not until about 3-1/2 weeks after surgery. Which Prescott just had around 10 days ago.

Meaning, it’ll probably be at least another week until he can even grip the football, if not more.

And that’s obviously more than just two weeks away.

Per Cowboys Country‘s Mike Fisher, Prescott had successful surgery on Monday, September 12. So, that’s put his return -based off Rapoport’s timeline- right at that mid-October Eagles game, as he mentioned. Or, on October 23 against the Detroit Lions, at the latest.

Granted, Jones did call his take “very optimistic” a little later on during the interview. So, at least he’s willing to admit that much. But, Cowboys fans certainly don’t need to adhere to what he said and they certainly shouldn’t hold their breaths for a potential Prescott return within the next couple weeks.

Featured image via Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports