When Dak Prescott went down with a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle last October it effectively ended the Dallas Cowboys season and began a long road to recovery for the former Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Prescott has worked diligently to get back to the field and continue the momentum he had before his injury when he has on pace to shatter his 2019 season, his best in the NFL so far. He’s now gone through OTAs and mandatory minicamp and is ready to leave his injury in the past.
“I’ve buried the injury,” Prescott said Wednesday. “Honestly, guys, you know me, from the point of practice, from the point of just moving forward and going about my life, I’ve buried it mentally. And I think you guys and a lot of people around have to help me in burying it as well as we move forward.”
It didn’t matter what free-agent signings the Cowboys had or who they selected in the NFL Draft. The key to success for the 2021 Cowboys all comes down to the health of Prescott. He has been ahead of schedule in his rehab, but the test would be to see how he does once he’s asked to move around on his surgically repaired ankle during football activities. He’s looked like his old self as far as his mobility and credits a specific drill for aiding in regaining his trust in his ankle.
“Just knowing that I could do all the different drops, get away from pressure when I need to,” Prescott said. “I’m sure you guys see the scramble drill that we’ve done a few times. That was a big one for my confidence, just being able to pivot and turn out left, get out to the right, change directions, not feeling anything, and then look at the tape and realize day by day that I’m running more smoother, I’m getting better, I’m using my legs more when I throw. Those are just all building blocks and steppingstones for me to get where I want to be. It’s just exciting.”
Once an injury occurs to any player they realize that there’s an uphill battle they must face physically. However, getting past the injury mentally is what will ultimately get them back to where they were before it happened.
Prescott is at that place in his recovery.
“There are no limits to what the mind can do,” Prescott said. “There are a lot of injuries that have more of a mental weight than they actually do a physical weight. If you can learn to get that off of you, just by trusting yourself, believing in what you can do, and trusting the doctors and people around you, you can do pretty much anything that you want coming back from the majority of the injuries this game gives us.”
The Cowboys canceled their final minicamp practice on Thursday in favor of a “team-building activity” according to Head Coach Mike McCarthy. The next stop on the offseason schedule is training camp in Oxnard, California. However, Prescott will continue to work with his receivers and running backs so that he can be ready to roll at the end of July.
“Whether that’s training here, training with our guys or heading out to California and getting some more positional work, I’ll do all the things necessary to, as I said, be the best I can be heading into camp,” Prescott said.
The Cowboys are the favorite to win the NFC East and return to the playoffs for the first time since 2018, and a healthy Prescott will be the main catalyst if that happens.