Dallas Cowboys ‘optimistic’ about Dak Prescott’s calf strain after Monday’s MRI – USA TODAY

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FRISCO, Texas — Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott hobbled in a walking boot as he boarded the team bus to leave Gillette Stadium on Sunday night.

Back at team headquarters Monday, the walking boot continued to encase his lower right leg.

But the Cowboys are optimistic about Prescott’s prognosis after an MRI on Monday confirmed the initial speculation of a calf strain. The Cowboys enter their bye this week before an Oct. 31 “Sunday Night Football” contest at Minnesota.

“We’re going to take this week for rest and rehab and then we’re going to re-evaluate Monday,” Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said Monday afternoon. “The words from (head athletic trainer) Jim (Maurer) were optimistic for Minnesota. But like with any calf strain, especially this early, this close to the injury, there is a variance in timelines.

“But we’re optimistic.”

MRI confirms Cowboys QB Dak Prescott has calf strain, per Mike McCarthy. Rest and rehab this week. Optimistic about 10/31 game at Vikings but will reevaluate next Monday.

“The bye week’s right on time,” McCarthy says.

— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) October 18, 2021

Cowboys receiver Michael Gallup suffered a calf strain in Dallas’ season opener Sept. 9. He has yet to reintegrate into practice. But Dallas does not expect Prescott’s recovery to follow that blueprint.

McCarthy declined to speculate on whether Prescott could practice and play this week had Dallas (5-1) not arrived at its bye. But he welcomed the timing.

“The bye week is right on time,” McCarthy said. “On a number of fronts, this is a good week for a bye week.”

Prescott suffered the calf strain on the final play of a 35-29 overtime road win against the New England Patriots. Prescott had escaped right on a designed rollout, bypassing his first read (tight end Dalton Schultz, covered in the flat) for wide receiver CeeDee Lamb as Lamb streaked down the right sideline. Lamb secured the catch and raced toward the end-zone to cap off his 149-yard, two-touchdown night.

Amid the victory glee, Prescott felt pain in his calf.

“Came down funny,” he said while taking postgame questions in a walking boot. “I’ll be fine, I can promise you that.”

Prescott said he believed the injury would not have precluded him from playing the remainder of the contest had he suffered the injury with time remaining. But as adrenaline wore off, he knew something was right. Prescott underwent two surgeries on his right ankle — the strained calf is also on his right leg — in 2020 after suffering a compound fracture and dislocation that sidelined him the final 11 games of last season.

Add in a latissimus strain of his throwing shoulder, and Prescott needed to battle to be ready for Week 1. He’s nonetheless been available for every offensive snap this season. He’s completed 73.1% of pass attempts for 1,813 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions while leading Dallas to a three-game lead in the NFC East.

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So the slight damper of an injury after a wild win?

“I was just like, ‘No way,’” Prescott said. “Life keeps throwing punches and I’m going to keep throwing them back. It’s part of, art of this game. It’s a physical game we play. But I’ll be fine. Got a lot of confidence in myself, the medical team and as I said: I feel good.

“I figured we weren’t playing for a week, so I’d give you guys something to talk about and speculate on this time. So there you go.”

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein.