Dak Prescott says he’ll begin at QB for Cowboys vs. Lions

FRISCO, Texas — Dak Prescott is back.

The Dallas Cowboys quarterback said he will start Sunday against the Detroit Lions at AT&T Stadium after going through a full practice on Thursday for the first time since fracturing his right thumb in the season opener.

He even made a thumbs-up for the cameras at the end of his media session.

“I did everything. I wasn’t limited by any means,” Prescott said. “There wasn’t a pitch count. I think I threw about 140 balls, something like that. I just made that up, but there was no pitch count. I was full go.”

Prescott has missed the past five games after needing surgery. Cooper Rush went 4-1 in Prescott’s absence to keep the Cowboys’ season afloat.

After throwing about 50 passes before last week’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, Prescott took a regeneration day on Monday and was back on the field Tuesday, the players’ off day. After Wednesday’s walk-through, he was held to a 40-pass session with the perimeter players. Coach Mike McCarthy said Prescott looked, “very good” and that the throws would increase Thursday and Friday.

How did he look in practice?

“Like Dak,” wide receiver CeeDee Lamb said. “He’s back.”

With Prescott’s return, the Cowboys believe their offensive production will improve while still focusing on a running game featuring Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard.

“I think running the football makes things go a little bit easier. Even when it may not be that effective, you’re still wearing on that defense,” Elliott said. “You’re still creating body blows, and then you’re impacting the game and making play-action work. I think it’s important for us to continue to attack defenses on the ground. Why not? You’ve got two great backs and a good O-line, so why don’t you make it easy for Dak?”

Prescott said he may wear some KT Tape on his thumb but considered taking it off in practice and might go without it Sunday. He said he will continue to take measures to help the thumb before and after practices and games.

“I’m not going to just act like I didn’t have a broken bone a few weeks ago,” Prescott said “I am still going to do some things, but for the most part I’m healthy. It feels good. I grabbed the ball. The ball is comfortable in my hand. My grip is great. Honestly, putting it behind me and just focusing on this game plan.”

Prescott’s impending return has given the Cowboys an emotional lift.

“No. 1, his leadership ability, personality is top-notch, off the charts,” McCarthy said. “So I mean that energy definitely has been felt without a doubt. Anybody that knows Dak or has been a teammate of his understands the energy that he brings each and every day.”

To McCarthy, “rhythm and timing” are what he looks for most when a quarterback is coming back from a multiweek absence.

“It’s a challenge to grab that in this short a period of time. There’s no question,” McCarthy said. “But I think that’s why really putting the ceiling on the workload is important because Lord knows he would throw 140 [Wednesday] if you’d let him. We just got to be smart about that and trust the medical process that he’s going through.”

Elliott didn’t see any issues in practice.

“Today he looked really good. Today the rhythm looked really good,” Elliott said. “It didn’t look like he missed a beat.”

Prescott believes watching the past five weeks will help him and the team.

“A lot of things I wouldn’t necessarily share, but I know it’s going to help me and help this team moving forward, helping certain players, just staying ahead of the communication aspect, whether it be with the players, whether it be with the coaches, communicating with the defense as a team, making sure they stay together, understand we’re in this together,” Prescott said.

“Yeah, I learned a lot. As disappointing as it was, it was really, really fun and a great time for me to grow and learn more about this team that honestly I hadn’t been able to see from that perspective. Being hurt before [in 2020], I was gone when I hurt my ankle, right? I wasn’t necessarily around trying to get that right.

“Being here during this time, not missing anything, seeing the game, seeing the way everything plays out, I think it will be huge moving forward.”

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