There was every reason to believe Dak Prescott would be a full participant from Day 1 of training camp. The Cowboys quarterback was fully cleared for all football activities before the team’s offseason program.
The Cowboys limited Prescott in 11-in-11 work in the organized team activities only to keep him out of harm’s way, not because of any physical limitation as he worked his way back from his ankle injury. That only reinforced his and the Cowboys’ belief the injury is behind Prescott.
The Cowboys hold their first training camp practice Thursday, and they expect Prescott to fully participate.
“Unless something comes out of the medical meeting, I see for him to be a full participant,” Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said. “But it’s still a projection, and we’ll see how it goes. We will watch him. But the way we approached the offseason program was to keep him out of the team drills, but he will participate in the team drills. That was really the last hurdle as I view it.”
Prescott was carted off the field Oct. 11 with a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle, which required immediate surgery. He required a second surgery in December to strengthen the ankle.
Prescott’s initial prognosis was four to six months, though he never put a timeline on his comeback. He has said he “buried” the injury on the dance floor May 5 while celebrating Cinco de Mayo.
“It was great to get Dak back on every level, no question — what he went through with the injury,” McCarthy said. “But one thing about Dak, he’s the same man every day. He’s been in the facility every single day since the injury. From a performance standpoint, I think we’re stating the obvious: He’s an outstanding quarterback that has great days in front of him. But his leadership, and all that, to me that’s part of the contract. When players receive big contracts, I view it, this is my opinion, that obviously they’re being rewarded and recognized for what they do on Sundays. But the responsibility that they have Monday through Saturday greatly increases, and nobody emulates that more than Dak Prescott.
“It was great to get him back. I can’t say enough about our offseason program. We definitely hit all the targets that we wanted to and even some of the challenges that we didn’t foresee coming and were upon us in the first three or four weeks. Our players did a phenomenal job, so to have something that frankly changed the way we’re going to practice and some of the things that we’re going to practice early in camp because of the excellent commitment and what we were able to accomplish in the offseason program.”
The Cowboys’ Super Bowl chances hinge on their ability to stay healthier than they did last season, especially at the quarterback position. Andy Dalton, Ben DiNucci and Garrett Gilbert made starts in Prescott’s absence last season, and the Cowboys went 6-10.