FRISCO, Texas — For the first time this season—and the first time in Dak Prescott’s career, as far as Jason Garrett could remember—an injury limited the Cowboys starting quarterback from participating in practice Wednesday.
Prescott injured his right shoulder on a 7-yard scramble in the first quarter of a 44-21 win over the Rams on Sunday. He finished the game but was listed as limited during practice Wednesday. The Cowboys travel to Philadelphia this weekend with a chance to clinch a second consecutive NFC East title.
“Dak banged up his shoulder early on in the game, so he’ll be somewhat limited in practice,” Garrett said. “They did an MRI and everything seems to be OK. But he just banged it up and it’s hard for him to function right now. So we don’t anticipate him throwing much in practice.”
During the portion of practice open to the media, Prescott stretched with the team—using his left arm to stretch each quad—and tossed passes to running back Ezekiel Elliott with his left hand. Prescott then watched as backup quarterbacks Cooper Rush and Clayton Thorson threw to receivers during their pat-and-go drill. Prescott, who has never missed a practice or game in four years since Dallas drafted him, did not throw. After the session, the quarterbacks eschewed their usual drills to huddle with quarterbacks coach Jon Kitna.
The shoulder injury follow a left-hand sprain and right index finger injury, both suffered against the Bears on Dec. 5. Prescott appeared on injury reports last week but taped fingers together and practiced fully.
“Just a couple of bruises,” he said. “It’s been good. I appreciate it.”
Prescott sustained the shoulder injury on a first-quarter scramble with 8:08 to play against the Rams. He faked a handoff to Elliott, stiff-armed outside linebacker Clay Matthews with his left arm and scrambled 7 yards around the right end before Matthews tackled him. The scramble kicked off the Cowboys’ first scoring drive.
Prescott finished the game and even lost the tape on his injured fingers at one point during the contest. He completed 15 of 23 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns for a 123.8 passer rating. Prescott also gained 12 yards on a combined seven carries, including a quarterback keeper on fourth-and-1 late in the second quarter to set up an Elliott score. Elliott and Cowboys rookie Tony Pollard both surpassed 100 yards rushing as Dallas racked up 263 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
Prescott has passed for a career-high 4,334 yards and 26 touchdowns this season. Prescott’s 23 pass attempts against the Rams marked a season low. His second-lowest: 27 attempts in a 37-10 win over the Eagles.
Garrett said he is “not really” concerned about Prescott’s injuries ahead of Sunday’s game against Philadelphia. The team will address Prescott’s injury, and a non-football issue causing left tackle Tyron Smith’s eye to close, day by day. Decisions about whether Prescott will again need to tape his fingers, or otherwise treat his injuries, will come as the week goes on.
“He’s as tough as they come,” Garrett said of Prescott. “His physical toughness and mental toughness are on par with anybody I’ve been around, and that’s just what he’s all about. He handles success. He handles adversity. He handles issues as well as anybody.”
“He’s a pretty tough individual.”
Rush has completed one of three pass attempts in three years. The Eagles don’t expect to face the backup quarterback and will not change their game preparation on account of Prescott’s injury, head coach Doug Pederson said on a call with Dallas reporters. Both Dallas and Philadelphia own 7-7 records atop the NFC East. If the Cowboys win in Philly, they will be the first team to defend the division title since the Eagles did so in 2004.
Pederson doesn’t doubt Prescott will be the one leading his team with those stakes.
“No, no,” Pederson said. “We all know Dak Prescott and the type of player is. Love everything about his game.
“He’s not going to miss this game, at all.”
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein