What happened to Dak Prescott? How Cowboys QB came back from gruesome 2020 ankle injury

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Dak Prescott is having quite a comeback year after he missed 12.5 games last season due to an ankle injury. The Cowboys are 4-1 and haven’t lost since their Week 1 matchup against the Buccaneers.

Through five games, Prescott has thrown for 1,368 yards, resulting in 13 touchdowns, which is tied for third most made by quarterbacks so far this season. He has the second best completion percentage out of starting quarterbacks with 73.9 percent.

The Cowboys haven’t made it past the divisional playoffs while under Prescott, but as they continue to lead the NFC East, there is a chance Prescott could take Dallas farther in the post-season.

It took 340 days for Prescott to return to football. Here’s a look at how Prescott got to this point.

MORE: How Dak Prescott came back from injury better than ever

What was Dak Prescott’s 2020 injury?

While playing the Giants on Oct. 11, 2020, Prescott tried to stiff arm Giants defensive back Logan Ryan. As they fell to the ground, Prescott’s ankle got caught under Ryan and his ankle turned the wrong direction. His injury was later determined as a “pedal ankle dislocation.”

Prescott cried as he was carted off the field. It was a moment many football fans can never forget, especially because it was Prescott’s most severe injury yet. 

After the Week 5 game, Prescott missed the remainder of the 2020 season, missing his first games as a Cowboy from when he started in 2016. 

MORE: Dak Prescott thanks Alex Smith for inspiration during comeback from gruesome ankle injury

One year later for Prescott: Injury is ‘not something I care to see’

Last week was the one year anniversary for Prescott’s injury. The day before, on Sunday, Oct. 10, Prescott coincidentally played against the Giants causing a lot of attention to be drawn to his gruesome injury from the year prior. 

In regards to whether or not Prescott watches the injury back, he claims he doesn’t like to see it.

“I definitely fast-forward through that play. I’ve watched that play a couple of times, and when it comes up, I can say I watch the beginning of it but not the end of the run,” Prescott said, via ESPN. “I don’t think much about it. It’s kind of past it and it’s really not something I care to see and know that I’ve done a lot to get past it.”

Prescott even admitted that he can laugh about the injury every so often. Since the injury, Prescott claimed to try to pop his ankle back into place, and that’s the moment that he finds funny looking back. 

“I don’t know what I was doing trying to bang my leg,” Prescott said. “I know I was trying to just get it right, make it look normal so I could try to get off the field. When I look back, as I say, I don’t know if it was shock, obviously not feeling it all and me trying to bang it straight. It’s just like, ‘What am I doing?’ That’s what allows me to laugh about it. Yeah, wow.”

MORE: Cowboys QB ‘100 percent ready to go’ after gruesome 2020 injury

Dak Prescott comeback timeline

Oct. 11, 2020 — Prescott was carted off the field with a dislocated ankle. That night he received surgery on his right ankle and was ruled out for the remainder of the 2020 season.

Oct. 12, 2020 — NFL Network’s Jane Slater reports that Prescott’s surgery went well and that his recovery window would be four-to-six months. She also shares a quote from a source close to Prescott stating, “He’s good. Been in high spirits all night and morning. Minor setback for a major comeback.”

Nov. 9, 2020 — The Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones announced Prescott’s injury would take a four-month recovery process. Originally, the team was worried it could take up to six months for Prescott to fully recover. 

Early December 2020 — Prescott has a second surgery two months later to his ankle, but this time it wasn’t in direct response to his October injury. There were spots based from previous injuries to his right ankle, so the doctors wanted “to strengthen his deltoid ligament, clean out the ankle and make it more structurally sound,” via NFL.com.

Feb. 7, 2020 — Following this surgery, Prescott was reported walking without any issues.

March 8, 2021 — Prescott and the Cowboys agree to a four-year, $160 million contract extension, including a no-trade clause and no-tag provision.

MORE: Dak Prescott contract details: Big guaranteed money is win-win for Cowboys and QB

July 22, 2021 — Prescott appears at his first practice with the Cowboys since his injury.

July 28, 2021 — Prescott suffers a latissimus strain in his right shoulder while at practice. Because of this, Prescott did not start for any of the Cowboys’ preseason games.

MORE: Cowboys QB ‘full go’ for showdown vs. Buccaneers, coach says

Sept. 9, 2021 — Despite missing most of the preseason, Prescott started for the first time in almost a year for the Cowboys season opener against reigning Super Bowl champions the Buccaneers. Prescott threw for 403 yards, his most so far this season.

Sept. 27, 2021 — Prescott made his first start in AT&T Stadium since injury. The Cowboys win over the Eagles 41-21.

Oct. 10, 2021 — As the one-year anniversary of his season-ending injury came up, Prescott admitted to having a “mental fog” in the beginning of the Cowboys’ Week 5 game against the Giants, who happen to be the team he was injured by. He got past this mental block, though, to help bring the Cowboys to a 44-20 win. He threw for 302 yards and three touchdowns.

College injuries

Prescott’s ankle injury has been by far his most severe injury since it’s the only one that ended his season. However, Prescott has endured various other injuries in his career as a star college quarterback and NFL quarterback.

2013 — Arm/Elbow sprain

While Prescott was quarterback for Mississippi State in 2013, he sprained his elbow during their game against Texas A&M. This injury caused Prescott to miss his team’s battle against Alabama (ranked no. 1 at the time) and another game. 

2014 — Foot injury

While Mississippi State was no. 1 during Prescott’s junior season, he suffered a minor foot injury in their game against Kentucky. He wore a boot following the game and for the week after, but appeared to be fine and didn’t miss any games. It was more a precautionary measure, he said.

NFL injuries

2019 — Shoulder injury

After going three full seasons on the Cowboys without an injury, Prescott suffered a minor shoulder injury on Dec. 15, 2019 during the first quarter of their game against the Rams. He landed on his right shoulder during a 7-yard scramble. He was able to finish out the game, but later in the week missed practice to rest his shoulder. 

Prescott completed all 16 games in the 2019 season despite the minor injury.

2021 — Another shoulder injury

Prescott suffered a latissimus strain in his right shoulder while in practice. He had only returned to football for a week by the time the injury happened. He sat out for the remainder of the preseason, but was able to make a return for the regular season opener.





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