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Cowboys preparing Dak Precott to play vs. Vikings, don't want 'week-to-week decision' on QB's injury

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FRISCO, Texas — Ten days removed from straining his calf on a game-winning touchdown in overtime, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott will again practice Wednesday.

Will he play Sunday night at the Vikings?

A final decision awaits.

“He’s going to practice, he’s going to go through individual (drills), he’s in the game plans,” Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said Wednesday morning from team headquarters. “He’s preparing to play. But he’s got to cross the threshold to make sure he’s full go.”

Prescott strained his right calf after rolling out of the pocket and planting on his right leg for a 35-yard touchdown strike to receiver CeeDee Lamb against the Patriots. He said he “came down funny” on the play, the pain more apparent after the adrenaline of Dallas’ fifth straight win began to settle. Prescott wore a walking boot after that game and the following day at the Cowboys facility.

An MRI last week confirmed the initial strain diagnosis, subsequent evaluation this week showing Prescott has “improved every day,” McCarthy said. Prescott was in good spirits at team headquarters on Monday, walking comfortably without a boot.

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Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) warms up prior to an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, in Foxborough, Mass.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) warms up prior to an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, in Foxborough, Mass.

McCarthy said Wednesday team drill participation will not dictate Sunday’s personnel decisions. The Cowboys planned to give backup quarterback Cooper Rush ample practice reps with the first-team offense to ensure he would be ready. A calf strain isn’t ideal for any player, but McCarthy agreed that quarterback is “clearly the position could probably play with a calf strain earlier in the rehab process than other positions.”

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers played through a calf strain late in the 2014 season into the playoffs, said McCarthy, who coached Green Bay from 2006-18.

“We don’t want this to be a week-to-week decision, so until he clears that threshold, to try to minimize the risk is really what the decision will come down to,” McCarthy said. “The ability to improve each day and not have a setback, that’s really what we’re focused on.”

Prescott suffered a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle—the same side as this calf strain—in Week 5 of last season. He underwent two surgeries, rehabilitating for months and showing no lingering limitations when the season opened.

Through six games, Prescott has completed 73.1% of passes for 1,813 yards and 16 touchdowns to four interceptions. The Vikings lead the league averaging 3 ½ sacks per game (21 total), led by Danielle Hunter (six) and Everson Griffen (four).

Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Tuesday he felt “very good about where Dak is right now.” He said Prescott’s calf concerns him “much less” than a latissimus strain of his throwing shoulder in training camp. Prescott missed four weeks of practice for that strain, though he and team officials said he’d have been able to play through it.

The Cowboys have a 3 ½-game lead in the NFC East.

“The idea then was don’t be pennywise and pound foolish,” Jones said Tuesday morning on Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan. “Make sure you feel good about his ability to not reinjure. That will be the key.

“You certainly would measure how to play a game with the idea in mind that he could give you a lot of games in the future.

“But still, I feel very good about where Dak is right now.”

Follow USA TODAY Sports' Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Dak Prescott injury: Dallas Cowboys give update on QB's calf

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