Dak Prescott isn’t wearing a boot any longer, and the Cowboys repeatedly have said they feel “very good” about their star quarterback playing Sunday against the Vikings. But what exactly does that mean?
Is the right calf strain going to affect him pushing off as he throws the ball? Is he going to be able to run? Is there concern about risking further injury to the calf?
The Cowboys will know more as the week progresses, but for now, they are taking a deliberate approach to his return after a bye week. Prescott had a limited practice Wednesday.
“I think Dak has improved every day,” Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said before practice, via Schuyler Dixon of the Associated Press. “Today’s plan is for him to start in all of the individual, so he’ll be working through the individual in the fundamental periods and the group and into the combo. We’ll assess where he is at that point.
“The ability to improve each day and not have a setback, that’s really what we’re focused on. So how we play will be a big part of it, just to make sure he’s full go, has no limitations. That’s what we’re looking for. You know we are in Week 7.”
McCarthy noted that quarterback is the one position where “you could probably play with a calf strain earlier in the rehab process.”
At the same time, the Cowboys are preparing backup Cooper Rush, getting him ready just in case.
“It’s a matter of trying to make sure Cooper is ready and to make sure Dak is getting what he needs until really Dak clears the threshold of the rehab component with Britt (Brown, the team’s director of rehabilitation),” McCarthy said. “We won’t make that determination on if he’s a full go until we get to that point. So we’ve got to make sure we’re getting Cooper ready, too.”
Rush has never started an NFL game, playing in only six, while taking 58 snaps and throwing three passes.
Prescott was injured on his 35-yard, game-winning touchdown throw to CeeDee Lamb in overtime against the Patriots on Oct. 17. Prescott, who missed 11 games last season with a severe right ankle injury, has passed for 1,813 yards with 16 touchdowns, four interceptions and a 115.0 passer rating to join the MVP conversation.