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Cowboys “playing it cautiously” with Dak Prescott’s return from shoulder strain

Dak Prescott indeed is practicing Monday night, the first time he has participated in team drills since pulling himself out of practice July 28 with a sore shoulder. Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy confirmed Prescott will go through limited work as he returns from a lat strain.

“The biggest thing is really to stay on course with his work,” McCarthy said, via David Moore of the Dallas Morning News. “We’re playing it cautiously. I’m trying to come up with new words here, but it’s the same plan. When he was sat down, you have to build up his volume of throws again. We just really don’t want to put him in a position where he can reinjure it. We’ll continue to work on that plane.”

Prescott wants to play the Cowboys’ third preseason game, which is Saturday against the Texans at AT&T Stadium. But executive vice president Stephen Jones said last week it isn’t necessary for Prescott to get preseason work to be ready for the season opener.

So the Cowboys appear to be leaning toward holding Prescott out of the entire preseason.

“If he doesn’t play this week I won’t play him in the fourth game,” McCarthy said. “To me, the fourth game is for the players who are competing for the final roster spots. That’s what I believe in, and that’s definitely the case for us this year.

“We’ll see how the week goes, but there’s no urgency from my perspective to see Dak play against Houston. This is more about we don’t want to create a setback possibly. His volume of throwing leading up to that point, I mean, he was probably in midseason form from the amount of work he put in over the summer, coming out of the OTAs. Just trying to get that volume back to where it belongs.”

Prescott has not played since Week 5 of last season when he dislocated and fractured his right ankle. McCarthy, though, said getting Prescott over the mental hurdle of live work before the Week 1 game against the Bucs is “not the priority.”

“I think his volume throwing, getting the capacity back to where he was is the No. 1 thing,” McCarthy said.