Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and teammate Tyron Smith linked up for a recent fishing trip after which several photos of the expedition were posted to social media. They seem innocuous enough for a typical offseason respite.
However, a closer inspection shows Prescott’s twice surgically-repaired right ankle apparently still very much in the healing stage. Eagle-eyed fans were quick to take note.
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Cause for Concern?
Prescott’s right ankle appears disfigured on first glance, but Cowboys Nation must remember the severity of the Oct. 11 injury, a compound fracture and dislocation which required same-day emergency surgery as well as a December clean-up procedure. He’s now at the tail end of his four-to-six-month recovery timetable — a prognosis that many considered overly optimistic.
The good news? Dak has ditched assistive measures such as crutches or a walking boot. He admitted during his March 10 contract-announcing press conference that he was willing to, and seriously considered, jogging to the podium to prove his ankle’s health.
Regardless, the expectation Prescott furthered is full-go for late July training camp and the September kickoff of the 2021 regular season, even if that means mothballs for April’s start of (mostly virtual) spring work and May’s Organized Team Activities.
“I’m healthy,” he said. “I’ll control what I can control. I’ll follow the doctor’s orders the whole time. Put my own work ethic into it. I’m healthy, I’m getting close. I’ll be ready when it matters.”
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Less Running for Dak
Prescott’s fateful injury occurred on a designed scramble in Dallas’ Week 5 game against the New York Giants. It proved to be his final play of the 2020 season, and it could represent an increasingly rare reality for the newly-minted $160 million signal-caller.
Dual-threat ability is much of what makes him a top player at his position, but that doesn’t matter if Prescott’s in the trainer’s room rather than the starting lineup. Message sent, message received. Loud and clear.
“I’ve got to be smarter. … The best ability is durability, and I have to be there for my team,” Prescott recently said, via The Athletic, hinting at a future reduction in rushing opportunities, scripted or otherwise.
With 18 attempts across five appearances last year, Prescott was on pace to shatter his 2019 total (52) and had already tied his touchdown output (3) while hovering around a similar yards-per-carry average (5.2).
His best season on the ground came in 2017 when he converted 57 runs into 357 yards and six scores. Prescott followed that in 2018 with 305 yards and six TDs on a career-high 75 rushes en route to a Pro Bowl berth.
Of course, his combined 1,314 yards and 24 TDs across five seasons are dwarfed by his 17,634 passing yards and 106 TDs, numbers that justified making him the highest-paid player in franchise history.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL