Seven months after suffering a career-threatening ankle injury, Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott says he's confident he could play in an NFL game right now.
Prescott spoke to ESPN's Sage Steele on her Sunday SportsCenter segment and said he would not be worried about his leg if he faced game action:
"When I got hurt, I never said I wasn't going to let anybody put a time on it. Because I'm a competitive guy, and I knew once I heard the four to six [months], I was going to try to beat that. But I also knew I didn't have to be ready until fall. I'm right on pace. As I said, I'm healthy. If we had to play a game now, I feel like I can go out there. Obviously with the protection of my O-line and making sure I'm not getting beat up the whole game, I could go out there and be very successful, start the game, finish the game and not even worry about the leg."
Prescott underwent surgery in October to repair a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle. He was expected to face a rehabilitation period of four to six months, which would theoretically make him available for mandatory minicamp in June.
The Cowboys signed Prescott to a four-year, $160 million contract this offseason despite the uncertainty regarding his ankle, a vote of confidence in his ability to recover. Prescott emerged as one of the game's most prolific passers over the past two seasons and had thrown for 1,856 yards and nine touchdowns against four interceptions in just five games before his injury in 2020.
Speaking to Steele, Prescott discussed the emotions he went through in the immediate aftermath of being hurt:
"I actually thought I rolled my ankle, I actually thought that's all that happened. And when I was on the ground, I looked over to see if my ankle was rolled, it was facing the other way. At the time, I'm in shock. I mean, thank God for shock of not being able to feel the pain, but at that moment I just wanted to get off the field so bad and I couldn't. And it wasn't until my teammates came over to tap me on the shoulder, tell me it's going to be OK, they love me, was when I lost it because I haven't missed much time in the game of football. But to know at that moment that it was gone, it was tough."
The Cowboys' future will be heavily dependent on Prescott returning to Pro Bowl form. Ezekiel Elliott looked disconcertingly ordinary in 2020 without Prescott on the field, and the Cowboys won't be able to extract themselves from his massive contract until 2023.
With Prescott, Elliott and Amari Cooper all inked to big deals, the onus will be on the offense to carry the Cowboys deep into the postseason.