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Cowboys QB Dak Prescott must 'clear that threshold' to play vs. Vikings after calf injury

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Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott hasn’t yet been cleared to lead the team on Sunday night after suffering a right calf strain nearly two weeks ago.

Though coach Mike McCarthy said Prescott is going to continue practicing with the team leading up to their game against the Minnesota Vikings, and that he looked solid on Wednesday in the partial work that he did, the team isn’t ready to make a decision on him just yet.

“He’s going to practice and he’s going to go through the individual part of it and he’s in the game plans,” McCarthy said, via ESPN. “He’s got to cross the threshold to make sure he’s full-go.”

Prescott suffered the calf strain at the very end of their 35-29 overtime win against the New England Patriots on Oct. 17, and was seen leaving the stadium in a walking boot. Prescott hit wide receiver CeeDee Lamb for a 35-yard touchdown in overtime to give the Cowboys the win, but “came down funny” on his leg.

Dallas was off last week, which seems to be perfect timing for Prescott.

Cowboys won’t rush Prescott’s return

McCarthy said Wednesday that Prescott is “going to do everything he can” to play against the Vikings on Sunday — with the Cowboys currently listed as -2 favorites on BetMGM.

While he said that was “a given,” McCarthy and the Cowboys aren’t willing to risk Prescott’s calf injury dragging out longer than it needs to.

And considering where they’re at in the standings — Dallas has won five straight games and holds a 3.5-game lead in the NFC East — there certainly isn’t a need to push him.

"I think it's a clear decision, we don't want this to be a week-to-week situation, so until he clears that threshold to try to minimize the risk is really what the decision will come down to," McCarthy said, via ESPN.

What thresholds specifically Prescott needs to clear, though, issn't known — even to Prescott himself.

"They didn't tell me which ones I've got to pass," Prescott said Thursday, via ESPN. "Obviously I trust myself, trust my body, trust what I'm thinking, but also I trust the coaches ... and the whole training staff. We've put a lot into this. I've put a lot into my body and taking care of myself.

"But they know. They know how these things work. First time dealing with something like this, obviously on the same leg as my ankle, I want to be smart about it and cautious. But as I've said, I've gotten better each and every day. I'm doing things today I didn't do as well the day before. I think that's huge."

Dak Prescott suffered a right calf strain nearly two weeks ago against the Patriots. (Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)
Dak Prescott suffered a right calf strain nearly two weeks ago against the Patriots. (Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)

In the meantime, McCarthy said, the Cowboys will make sure that backup Cooper Rush will be ready to go if need be. Rush has appeared in just six games since he joined the Cowboys in 2017, which was the last time he actually threw a pass in an NFL game.

Either way, though, it doesn’t sound like the rest of the Dallas offense is sweating Prescott’s status.

From what he’s been able to do at practice so far this week, Lamb said, he’s “about 90% sure” Prescott will be healthy enough to play.

“He looks great in and out of his drops,” Lamb said, via ESPN. “I don’t know the restrictions on him or what’s going on, but to me, he looks perfectly fine.”