On Wednesday at Cowboys training camp, quarterback Dak Prescott threw in 7-on-7 drills during the first practice he’s completed in pads all summer. Prescott had been limited since he pulled himself from a July 28 practice with soreness in his throwing shoulder, and he was later diagnosed with a strain to his right latissimus muscle. That injury prevented him from playing in any preseason games and eliminated his opportunity to see live action ahead of the Cowboys season opener against the Buccaneers on Sept. 9. It was a frustrating setback for Prescott, who hasn’t played a competitive game since a dislocation and compound right ankle fracture ended his season last October. HBO’s Hard Knocks cameras overheard Prescott prickling at the GPS-tracked workload restrictions prescribed by coaches and trainers during a recent practice.

“I sat last year enough,” Prescott said. “I don’t know what the fuck they took me off of them reps for. I’ll let y’all know if I’m sore or something’s bothering me.”

Prescott has finally been medically cleared to increase his workload, even if he faces a condensed timeline to prepare for the season. His coach, Mike McCarthy, acknowledged Prescott’s impatience.

“He’s a caged lion,” McCarthy said Wednesday. “He’s a competitor.”

If Prescott’s health is the top factor influencing the Cowboys’ fortunes in 2021, McCarthy’s rapport with his quarterback may be next on the list. Their coach-quarterback relationship was stunted last season by COVID-19 restrictions, Prescott’s injury, and the uncertainty over Prescott’s contract situation. This season, though, restrictions are looser. Prescott also signed a four-year, $160 million contract extension in March to remain in Dallas alongside McCarthy.