When the Eagles play the Cowboys for first place in the NFC East on Sunday, they could face a Dak Prescott who’s not 100% healthy.
The Cowboys quarterback has a right shoulder injury that prevented him from practicing on Wednesday.
“He hurt his shoulder in the game the other day, and was just not able to function today," coach Jason Garrett said Wednesday on a conference call. “So we’ll take his situation day by day, and see how he’s able to improve over the course of the week, and hopefully get himself ready for the ballgame."
Inside the NovaCare Complex locker room, many Eagles players had yet to hear the reports about Prescott, who’s already posted career-best passing numbers of 4,334 yards and 26 touchdowns.
Among them was defensive tackle Fletcher Cox.
“He hurt? Oh man, he went to Mississippi State," said Cox, who left the school to enter the draft after his junior season, which Prescott spent redshirting as a freshman. “I’m not jumping around because he’s hurt.”
Will the injury change the defense’s preparation at all?
“What’s it going to change?” Cox said. “He still can hand the ball off. He still can run the ball.”
“I guess 21 is going to get the ball then,” said defensive end Brandon Graham, referencing running back Ezekiel Elliott, who had 111 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries when the Cowboys beat the Eagles, 37-10, on Oct. 20. “We just got to make sure we do our part. I’m worried about us. Nothing else."
Rookie linebacker T.J. Edwards — who coach Doug Pederson said will see more playing time in Kamu Grugier-Hill’s absence — echoed the veterans’ thoughts on Prescott.
“It’s hard to tell what’s going to happen with him,” Edwards said. “We’ll be ready for whatever it is.”
Prescott has never sat out an NFL game, and Garrett told reporters in Dallas he didn’t expect Prescott to snap that streak Sunday.
But just in case, backup Cooper Rush took the first-team reps at Wednesday’s practice.
The 26-year-old has never started an NFL game. He played in the final minutes of the Cowboys’ 35-17 win over the Giants earlier this year, and took two snaps at the end of their 44-21 win over Rams on Sunday. In his three seasons with the Cowboys, the 6-foot-3 undrafted quarterback has seen time in just five games and has completed one pass in three attempts.
But the Eagles should take Rush’s arm seriously, said Joe Ostman, an Eagles defensive end on injured reserve who played with Rush at Central Michigan in 2015 and ’16.
“He’s a very smart player," Ostman said. "He’s got a heck of an arm, too. A very accurate thrower.”
As the clock hit zero in a 2016 game against Oklahoma State, Rush threw a Hail Mary pass to upset the No. 22 team.
Ostman and Rush bonded during their time at Central Michigan, and regardless of whether Rush is called upon Sunday, Ostman looks forward to the reunion.
“Whenever I see him, it’s like nothing’s changed,” Ostman said. “He’s the same Coop.”
In the Dallas locker room, however, the resounding sentiment was that Prescott would play through the pain, according to ESPN.
Elliott told reporters Prescott is dealing with a sprained AC joint, a “tough” injury that Elliott has had in the past.