The Dolphins were already reeling ahead of Week 17, sitting on four consecutive losses after a humiliating finish against the Packers. Now, the status of their quarterback is in question.
Tua Tagovailoa suffered a head injury against Green Bay on Christmas Day, leaving his status uncertain ahead of a critical game against the Patriots.
This has been a season of twists and turns for Tagovailoa, whose terrific start was halted by a concussion controversy. He bounced back and briefly reinserted himself into the MVP conversation, but the current string of losses has put intense pressure on the Dolphins and their third-year passer entering January.
MORE: Packers, Aaron Rodgers one step closer to playoffs following Christmas Day win over Dolphins
Here are the latest updates on Tagovailoa’s injury status.
Tua Tagovailoa injury update
Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel announced Monday that Tagovailoa has re-entered the league’s concussion protocol.
While McDaniel said it wasn’t clear whether Tagovailoa, in fact, suffered a concussion, he reported symptoms to the team on Monday and will remain in the protocol at least until those symptoms clear.
McDaniel said it’s too soon to know if Tua could come out of protocol this week in time for NE. McDaniel said it’s not clear if he had a concussion, but symptoms existed today – enough for him to go into protocol.
— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) December 26, 2022
This is Tagovailoa’s second time in the concussion protocol this season, though there is question as to whether it should be the third. He was forced to miss two games after suffering a scary-looking concussion against the Bengals in September, just four days after he appeared to lose his balance while trying to stand in a game against the Bills but didn’t enter the protocol.
MORE: Explaining the Tua Rule: How Tua Tagovailoa changed NFL’s concussion protocol
McDaniel said Monday that he wasn’t sure when Tagovailoa might have suffered the injury against Green Bay, but some on social media have pointed to this play:
Saw this live. And I recorded it because I knew as soon as I saw it. This happened late in the 1st half. And I believe Tua played 2nd half with a concussion. His head bounced off the ground. And it was very similar to the hit in Cincinnati. 3 INTs in the 4th qtr. proved it to me. pic.twitter.com/Djl0xkGToX
— Michael Williams (@SelfMade0602) December 25, 2022
McDaniel said it was too early to know if Tagovailoa will be cleared in time to play against the Patriots on Sunday in a matchup of two teams in the thick of the AFC wild-card race. A Jets win on Sunday, regardless of whether the Dolphins beat New England, means Miami would have a must-win game against New York at home in Week 18.
MORE: Dolphins’ updated chances to make NFL playoffs
Tagovailoa missed two games after his September concussion.
Dolphins QB depth chart
Teddy Bridgewater would start against the Patriots if Tagovailoa isn’t cleared to play.
Bridgewater made one start for the Dolphins earlier in the season, throwing just one pass before exiting with an injury, but he played the majority of Miami’s losses to the Bengals (after Tagovailoa left) and Vikings (in place of Skylar Thompson).
Thompson, a seventh-round rookie who threw 53 passes as an injury replacement earlier this season, would serve as Bridgewater’s backup.
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