Dak Prescott still isn’t ready to play in an NFL game. Coming off a season-ending ankle injury in 2020, the Dallas Cowboys quarterback will be forced to miss the team’s first exhibition game of 2021.

Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy has ruled out Prescott for Thursday’s Hall of Fame Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers as the signal caller deals with a shoulder strain. McCarthy said the team is taking a step back and a conservative approach with its franchise quarterback. 

Prescott won’t throw the football in practice this week. 

“We still feel the same about the type of injury but we’re being more conservative with the timeline,” McCarthy said, via USA Today. “After research and looking at it, we just don’t want this to turn into something big. He’s doing everything he possibly can but we’re being more conservative with the rehab.”

Prescott might have sat during the exhibition game, even if he was completely healthy. Starters don’t typically play in the annual Hall of Fame Game, which takes place before Week 1 of the preseason.

It’s been 10 months since Prescott played in an NFL game. Prescott indicated he was fully recovered from his ankle injury when he joined the Cowboys for OTAs in May.

While recovering from the season-ending injury, Prescott signed a four-year, $160 million contract. The 28-year-old will be paid a record $75 million in 2021 as part of the deal.

With a healthy Prescott under center, the Cowboys are considered heavy favorites to win the NFC East. Prescott was on pace to set the all-time passing record before he got hurt in Week 5 of the 2020 season. Prescott threw for 4,902 yards as Dallas boasted the NFL’s No. 1 ranked offense in 2019.

Prescott’s next chance to play comes on Aug. 13 against the Arizona Cardinals. The Cowboys are scheduled to host the Houston Texans on Aug. 21 in Week 2 of the preseason.

Dallas and Pittsburgh are the only NFL teams scheduled to play four exhibition games this year.

Dak Prescott Dallas Cowboys Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys in action against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on November 04, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Cowboys defeated the Giants 37-18. Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images