OXNARD, Calif. -- After consecutive days of throwing, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has experienced no residual soreness in his right shoulder strain and has eyes to return to practice on a full-time basis next week and potentially play Aug. 21 against the Houston Texans.
"Obviously, if everything keeps progressing the way it's been, I'm going to be optimistic about that," Prescott said. "... Keep doing the things that I need to do; being very cautious with it, though. Making sure that, more importantly, I'm ready for the season opener."
Prescott went through the pre-practice quarterback school and, without a defense on the field, threw routes to running backs, tight ends and wide receivers. While he said the intensity of his session Wednesday was more than Tuesday, he was not allowed to fully test the arm with more challenging and deeper throws.
"I'll progress to those pretty quick, I think," Prescott said. "Right now it's just about being, I think, in the team activity and ripping a pass, not worrying about it. Just trying to make sure I'm healthy enough to do that when that time comes because once I get back in a competition setting or team setting, I'm not going to think about my arm no matter what day or what stage it is. So it's about progressing to it at the right time."
Prescott will have an MRI when the Cowboys return to Texas after Friday's game at Arizona. The precautionary exam will be done to see how the healing process is coming along in his shoulder.
Prescott was shut down from throwing for two weeks after pulling himself from practice on July 28 with a latissimus strain. He did some light throwing over the weekend and has ramped up his work as the Cowboys break camp in Oxnard, California.
He said he does not feel like he is behind after missing six full practices but admits the watching has made it more difficult after missing so much time last season because of the dislocation and compound fracture of his right ankle last October.
"I'm a go-go-go guy. I always want to be in the action, getting better," he said. "I think the more reps, the better. and better for me. But obviously, something like this, you can't stress it too fast. Sitting out and being out of all the time I was out last year, that's what I think about and that's what's able to hold me back in. It's the risk versus the reward at this point, and I've got to know what I'm playing for, and that's to be ready for this season."
The Cowboys consulted with the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees regarding Prescott's injury because it is mostly considered a "baseball injury." Prescott does not believe he will have to limit his practice time through the regular season.
"Talking to other doctors, talking to people who have dealt with injuries like this, if you stay on that path and you get past it, once you're healed for the most part, you're ready to go," he said. "It's not anything you think about or anything you worry about. As I said, it's just about doing that and doing it the right way that I don't have a setback and then I'm worried about it and it would be tender throughout the year and would have to be on a pitch count."
Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy and executive vice president Stephen Jones said the Cowboys had to protect Prescott from himself by going through a conservative rehab approach.
"It's only natural when you shut a quarterback down completely throwing, then there's a process to build him back up," McCarthy said. "We'll continue to go through that regimen today. So he'll do a little more throwing today than he did yesterday."
As for playing against the Texans, one factor will be who else is playing offensively. The Cowboys will not put Prescott on the field without regulars like Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and La'el Collins protecting him. Jones is not concerned about Prescott rolling into the Tampa Bay game without any preseason work even if he has not played a game in 11 months.
"I know people worry about that, but I think that's overrated," Jones said. "I just think these guys, I mean Dak Prescott knows how to play the game of football and whether he plays a series or two in Houston isn't going to affect how he's going to play in the opener against Tampa."