Cowboys' Mike McCarthy: 'No Urgency' for Dak Prescott to Play vs. Texans Amid Injury

Blake SchusterContributor IAugust 17, 2021

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - AUGUST 13: Quarterback Dak Prescott #4 and head coach Mike McCarthy of the Dallas Cowboys before the NFL preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on August 13, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Dallas Cowboys 19-16. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott didn't play in the preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He didn't play against the Arizona Cardinals the following week. Odds are he won't suit up for Saturday's exhibition against the Houston Texans, either.

As Prescott works through a sore right shoulder, head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters he doesn't expect to have the QB take the field this weekend. If that is the case, McCarthy noted it's highly unlikely Prescott sees any preseason action, as he would not put his franchise star under center in Dallas' fourth and final exhibition this summer. 

"We'll see how the week goes, but there's no urgency from my perspective to see Dak play against Houston," McCarthy told reporters. "This is more about we don’t want to create a setback possibly. His volume of throwing leading up to that point, I mean, he was probably in midseason form from the amount of work he put in over the summer, coming out of the OTAs. Just trying to get that volume back to where it belongs."

On top of his shoulder concerns, Prescott was a limited participant in practice Monday as he works through a strained lat. 

The effort to keep Prescott healthy for the regular season makes plenty of sense from the Cowboys' perspective. The 28-year-old is beginning a four-year, $160 million contract this season. He also hasn't played since Week 5 in 2020 when he suffered a season-ending ankle injury.

Not only does Dallas have to protect its investment, but there's also little reward for Prescott to push his body in games that ultimately don't matter much.

"The biggest thing is really to stay on course with his work," McCarthy said. "We're playing it cautiously. I'm trying to come up with new words here, but it's the same plan. When he was sat down, you have to build up his volume of throws again. We just really don’t want to put him in a position where he can reinjure it. We'll continue to work on that plane."

In a very winnable NFC East, doing everything possible to ensure Prescott is available for regular-season games could make the difference as Dallas aims for its first division title since 2018.