Is Dak Prescott healthy? Cowboys QB ‘100 pecent ready to go’ after gruesome 2020 injury
Dak Prescott grabbed his right foot and smiled. He reflected on where the last year had taken him while he recovered from a compound fracture and dislocation of his ankle.
The Cowboys’ starting quarterback said in an interview with NBC’s Maria Taylor that he is all healed from the injury, with only a wishbone-shaped scar on the inside of his foot and a straight-line mark on the outside covering the pain of his recovery process.
Prescott considers the marks signs of progress. He also believes his best football is yet to come.
“I definitely do,” Prescott said. “I see growth, I see healing, I see faith triumphing [over] everything.”
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Prescott played in his first game in 333 days Thursday against the Buccaneers, who won Super Bowl 55 last season. The matchup represented a great test for him: Tampa Bay ranked eighth in the NFL last season with 22.2 points allowed per game and gave up 19.5 points per contest in four postseason games.
In addition, Dallas was without four-time first-team All-Pro guard Zack Martin, who tested positive for COVID-19. Starting right tackle La’el Collins was available but reportedly has been dealing with a neck stinger.
Here’s a look at Prescott’s health status and what it took for him to recover from his injury:
What was Dak Prescott’s injury?
Prescott was injured in Week 5 last season as he dashed for a first down in the third quarter of Dallas’ win over the Giants. His right ankle turned sideways as he was tackled by cornerback Logan Ryan. Prescott was carted off the field with his foot in a boot.
Prescott had surgery that same night, which reportedly reset the dislocation and cleaned the wound so there was no infection. Prescott had a second surgery later that year which dealt with long-term concerns about the ankle.
In his interview with Taylor, Prescott said he lost feeling in his toes after surgery, which led to the Cowboys’ trainers and his girlfriend tapping them while he guessed which one they were on.
“It’s incredible, but it’s just trusting the process of the dark days of guessing, ‘Big toe?'” Prescott said. “And it’s like, ‘No, it’s third toe.’ And you’re just like, ‘Why can’t I feel my foot?’ Will I ever have this feeling back? Will my foot ever work the same?’ To now, back out here doing everything that I was doing before. It’s just incredible, and I think it’s just a testament to trusting the process, trusting the experts and believing in my faith.”
What is the status of Dak Prescott’s shoulder injury?
Prescott suffered a latissimus strain in his right shoulder July 28 during practice, adding a wrinkle to his recovery timeline.
He returned to practice on a limited basis Aug. 16 after an MRI reportedly showed his shoulder was healing well. Prescott did not appear in any of the Cowboys’ four preseason games but is “100 percent ready to go, according to Dallas executive vice president Stephen Jones, who also said he has “total confidence in Dak and how he feels about what he can do for this football team.”
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Dak Prescott comeback timeline
Oct. 11, 2020: Prescott suffers a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle in the third quarter of a Week 5 game against the Giants, ending his season and resulting in surgery later that night.
Oct. 12, 2020: NFL Network’s Jane Slater reports Prescott was told his recovery window was four to six months.
Oct. 17, 2020: ESPN reports that Prescott had no post-surgical infections, which had been a concern.
November/December 2020: Prescott has a second surgery on his ankle about two months after his first to “strengthen his deltoid ligament, clean out the ankle and make it more structurally sound,” according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero. Prescott reportedly had to take a week off from rehab during that time.
Feb. 7, 2021: In the same report from Rapoport and Pelissero, Prescott was “walking without issue” and “doing weight-bearing exercises.” He was expected to be “ready for action long before the 2021 season begins.”
March 8, 2021: Prescott and the Cowboys agree to a four-year, $160 million contract extension, including a no-trade clause and no-tag provision.
July 22, 2021: Prescott returns for the first day of Cowboys training camp. He had a day of “near perfection,” according to the Dallas Morning News.
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July 28, 2021: An MRI reveals a latissimus strain in Prescott’s right shoulder. Prescott is subsequently sidelined him for multiple weeks of preseason camp. He reportedly returned for light throwing Aug. 7 and again on Aug. 10 before returning on a limited basis Aug. 16.
Sept. 9, 2021: Prescott, who did not play in any of the Cowboys’ preseason games, returns for the team’s regular-season opener against the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers.