Dak Prescott has been going through it.
Since falling to the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, and taking over franchise quarterback duties from Tony Romo during his rookie season, the 28-year-old has yet to propel the Dallas Cowboys to true championship contention. There’s also the gruesome right ankle compound fracture and dislocation he suffered during his Week 5 matchup against the New York Giants last year that cost him the rest of the season.
As he battles back from such a significant injury, the two-time Pro Bowler is now hampered by a right latissimus strain in his throwing shoulder that has sidetracked his recovery throughout training camp. And as Dak’s injuries only seem to be piling up with the 2021 NFL season on the horizon, ESPN insider Adam Schefter delivered some grim news over the weekend.
From NBC Sports:
During halftime of Friday night’s Chiefs-Cardinals game on ESPN, Adam Schefter made a comment that felt initially like a throwaway line but that, based on the words used, seems significant after playing it back a couple of times.
Regarding Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and his lingering absence due to a shoulder strain, Schefter said, “He’s not fully back, he may not be back all season long.”
While Schefter didn’t specify which one of Dak’s injuries has the potential to keep him playing at less than 100 percent this season, it’s easy to see how the two could be related.
[NFL analyst Chris] Simms has said that Prescott’s throwing motion looks different, possibly because he’s overcompensating with his arm for a back foot that he’s reluctant to plant (consciously or not) as aggressively as he did before suffering the broken ankle.
That’s the challenge, one that could last for all of the 2021 season — and one that could impact not only his availability but also his performance. Compensating for the ankle. Compensating for the shoulder. Struggling to not think about traffic around the leg. Trusting the ankle when deciding in a nanosecond whether to tuck the ball and run. Trusting the arm to make aggressive throws that could re-strain a shoulder injury that is, essentially, a baseball pitching injury.
The Cowboys have tried to remain patient throughout this ordeal, but they no longer have a proven vet waiting in the wings to guide their offense with former backup quarterback Andy Dalton moving on to the Chicago Bears this summer. So if Dak struggles to remain healthy this year, it’s gonna be a looooooooooooong season in Dallas.
“We’re just trusting the training staff on this one. They’re counting every throw,” head coach Mike McCarthy said of his star quarterback last week. “This is a volume regulation, endurance. There’s a big-picture outlook to this. He’ll definitely be involved in some form of practice more than this week. To stand here and tell you he’d be full-go and take all the reps, I’m not there yet.”
Only time will tell how Dak’s season will unfold, but it’s always best to take the side of caution when it comes to injuries of this magnitude.