FRISCO, Texas -- One by one, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has crossed off different thresholds in his return from a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle that he suffered last year.
Monday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles represents another one: his first contest at AT&T Stadium since the injury.
"I think it will be more special just because of the amount of Cowboys fans that will be there versus the away games," Prescott said after Friday's practice. "I mean, obviously the first two they traveled great and felt the energy and felt that, but just knowing that the support that they've given me over these past, I guess, going on a year, was important, was something that I felt. And knowing when I run out there once again, whether it's pregame, whether it's in a moment within the game, just to be able to see up there and know that after COVID and what we all went through last year, to have them all back, yeah, it will be exciting.
"I'll take that moment, I'll be thankful for it, but then flip the mind right back again to the Eagles' defense and what I have to do to win the game."
Prescott, who did not play in either of the two preseason games at AT&T Stadium, suffered the injury in the third quarter of the Cowboys' game against the New York Giants on Oct. 11, 2020. He underwent a surgery that night and had another performed last December before getting into a serious rehab routine that saw him arrive fit for the start of the Cowboys' offseason program.
In training camp, he suffered a right latissimus strain that kept him out of 10 practices, but he has had no limitations since.
"It's important anytime Dak is out there," coach Mike McCarthy said. "He's the face of our football team. Just from the offensive perspective, we're different on offense when he's in charge."
In two games, Prescott has completed 76.5% of his passes (65 of 85) for 640 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions. In last week's win against the Chargers, he completed 23 of 27 passes, marking the fourth time he has completed at least 85% of his throws in a game, the most by a quarterback since 2016.
Prescott's teammates have been so impressed with his play that this being his first home game since the injury was surprising.
"I didn't even think about that," right guard Zack Martin said. "Again, with Dak, the most important game is the next game. I would imagine he's treating it like any other game."
Prescott will have wide receiver Amari Cooper, who went through a full practice on Friday despite having what he called "cracked" ribs. He said he will wear extra protection against the Eagles after initially suffering the injury on a touchdown play in the opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"I don't need to be 100 percent [to play]," Cooper said.
Defensively, the Cowboys will be thin along the defensive line. Defensive tackle Carlos Watkins (knee) and defensive end Dorance Armstrong (ankle) were ruled out on Thursday and on Friday backup end Bradlee Anae went on the reserve/COVID-19 list and will miss Monday's game.
"If it ain't one thing, it's another," said defensive end Randy Gregory, who missed last week's game because he was on the COVID list. "I mean, look, the landscape has been like that since last year. Thankfully, guys are vaccinated, try to avoid stuff like that and get back quicker. Next man up."