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Cowboys’ Prescott puts calf issue to rest, set for Broncos

Dak Prescott smiles as he stands on the sideline at a game in a Dallas Cowboys baseball cap and workout clothes.
Jim Mone
Injured Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, center, stands on the field before an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021, in Minneapolis.

Dak Prescott didn’t think twice about maximum effort in his first practice after missing a game because of a strained right calf.

Until the star Dallas quarterback had time to think twice about it.

“First play (Wednesday), I get ready to scramble, I take five or six steps and throw on the run and I thought about it,” Prescott said. “I’m like, ‘I probably shouldn’t have done that on my first rep.’ That was easy for me to say, ‘OK, that is why I didn’t play last week, because I don’t think about that.’ And I am not going to think about that. I am going to think about whatever it takes to win the game.”

Prescott said it was “safe to say” he would play Sunday against Denver (4-4) after sitting last week when backup Cooper Rush threw the go-ahead touchdown pass in the final minute of a 20-16 win over Minnesota. It was the sixth straight victory for the Cowboys (6-1).

The strained calf came when Prescott threw the winning TD pass to CeeDee Lamb in overtime for a 35-29 victory against New England almost three weeks ago. The Cowboys hoped an open week would keep Prescott from missing a game. They chose the cautious approach.

Prescott said he was disappointed not to get to play against the Vikings, but didn’t have much trouble getting over it. Asked if there was any way he would sit again, Prescott said, “No, no, no. They got their two weeks with the bye. We’ll give them that.”

The Cowboys listed Prescott as questionable against Minnesota after he was held out of team drills all week. Receiver Amari Cooper, who caught the go-ahead TD toss from Rush, said the quarterback told his teammates two days before the game that he wasn’t playing.

No need for such questions now.

“I’m sure he’s going to be fired up,” running back Ezekiel Elliott said. “I don’t know if you can get more fired up than he always is, but if he can, I’m sure this week might be one of them.”

Prescott missed most of the preseason after straining his right shoulder early in training camp. He missed the final 11 games last year after the gruesome compound fracture of his right ankle against the New York Giants.

Suffice to say he’s been through the injury drill lately, which means he won’t change much with rehab even though Prescott says he’s close to fully recovered from the calf injury.

“I won’t stop doing all the things necessary to make sure I stay on top of it,” Prescott said. “Not only that, just my ankle, just my whole body, whether it’s the shoulder. I don’t want to say older because I’m only six years into this thing, but as I get more experience, I spend more time taking care of my body.”

Because surgery limited his mobility after the broken ankle last year, Prescott never made it to the sideline while the Cowboys finished 6-10 and missed the playoffs.

The win over Minnesota was the first time he’s watched most of a game with a headset since the final game of his rookie year, when Dallas’ postseason plans were all but set. Prescott said the thing he learned was, “That I don’t necessarily like to watch. That I like to play.”

“I don’t want to get used to it,” Prescott said. “It was challenging, but I embraced it, was able to support the guys, something coach (Mike) McCarthy talks about is support the 48. That was my job.”

Prescott is getting his old job back.