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Dak Prescott’s surgery leaves Cowboys with more offseason questions

Speaking at the NFL Combine, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy announced that quarterback Dak Prescott underwent surgery on his shoulder.
Credit: AP
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) leaves the field following an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022. The 49ers won 23-17. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

DALLAS — The NFL offseason is a time for players to get healthy and recover as they prepare for the 2022 league year. It appears that one of the cornerstone players for the Dallas Cowboys will need to take some extra time to recuperate this spring.

Speaking at the NFL Combine, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy announced that quarterback Dak Prescott underwent surgery on his shoulder. While it’s never great to hear about an operation for a player, especially for the QB, it’s important to note that the procedure was performed on Prescott’s left shoulder, which is not his throwing arm.

No timetable was given for recovery, and details on the manner of the injury weren’t provided, but it’s expected that Prescott won’t miss any offseason activities. McCarthy joined 105.3 The Fan in Dallas where he discussed Prescott’s surgery:

“(Dak) was one of eight players that had post-season surgery. We had to clean up his left shoulder, so it’s something that needed to be done. He’s rehabbing that, but he’s starting his process to get back into it.”

The fact that the issue was with Prescott’s non-throwing shoulder surely provided a sigh of relief to the organization after they signed the former fourth-round selection to a lucrative contract extension just under a year ago. Prescott did have a sore shoulder that bothered him during training camp last summer, but that was with his right shoulder, so this doesn’t appear to be a related injury.

However, going under the knife just weeks after the season concluded could lead to some questions about Prescott’s effectiveness down the stretch in 2021. Was the shoulder an issue when the quarterback and offense struggled at times in the second half? It’s also fair to wonder when the shoulder was hurt.

We may never know the answer to those questions, but since the injury was with his left shoulder, it suggests that it likely didn’t affect Prescott’s play much. Nevertheless, when the injury occured is something that fans will likely try to figure out as they build Dallas’ postmortem following their wild-card game ouster.

Ultimately, of course, the when, whys, and hows don’t really matter. The season ended a month and a half ago and nothing can change the outcome. The best that the Cowboys can do is get Prescott healthy and ready for the next season. That is the only priority now.

We still don’t know how long Prescott’s recovery will be or if he will have any limitations during Dallas’ offseason programs. It was noted that the surgery won’t affect Prescott’s offseason, but that remains to be seen. The team will want to be very careful with their franchise quarterback and if last season’s training camp is any indication, they’ll play it very safe with Prescott.

One issue that could arise is if Prescott pushes himself in the offseason. After working his way back from an ankle injury that cost him the majority of the 2020 campaign, Prescott showed that he is equipped to rigorously prepare himself for the year ahead and get copious amounts of work in with teammates during the league’s down time. 

Prescott had a football field built next to his house to put in extra work with his offensive players, so keeping him away from workouts or team activities as he rehabs is going to be a difficult task. Dallas’ medical staff will have the burden of making sure Prescott doesn’t extend himself too far and risk further injury.

No team wants their QB to have surgery, no matter how slight the procedure. A shoulder injury that requires an operation is nothing to take lightly.

The situation is something to track throughout the coming months and the hope is that Prescott will be ready to prepare for the 2022 campaign. There doesn’t seem to be much cause for concern yet, but the Cowboys just got a rude welcome to the offseason.

Do you think Dak Prescott will come back stronger in 2022 following shoulder surgery? Share your thoughts with Ben on Twitter @BenGrimaldi.


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