MIAMI — Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who is in the concussion protocol for the second time this season, is day-to-day and may be out of Sunday’s crucial game against the New England Patriots.
Coach Mike McDaniel said Wednesday that Teddy Bridgewater is in line to start for the Dolphins against the Patriots. Miami will snap a five-year playoff drought if it wins out or wins one of its final two games and gets help from several teams.
Tagovailoa’s latest concussion occurred during the team’s loss to the Green Bay Packers on Christmas Day. He finished the game without showing any symptoms and spoke to the media postgame.
However, Tagovailoa displayed concussion symptoms at the team facility Monday and was told to meet with team doctors. He self-reported his symptoms to the team’s medical staff and was immediately placed into concussion protocol.
The NFL Players Association and the NFL have officially initiated a joint review of the situation.
This would be the quarterback’s third head injury this season.
In September, Tagovailoa sustained what the Dolphins initially assessed as a head injury against the Buffalo Bills. An unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant cleared him to return to the game. That consultant was later fired.
A week later, in Miami’s Week 4 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Tagovailoa was knocked unconscious after hitting the back of his head on the ground. He was briefly hospitalized.
The incident triggered a joint NFLPA/NFL investigation, which led to the league changing its concussion protocol to mandate that any player who shows possible concussion symptoms — including a lack of balance or stability — sit out the remainder of a game.
McDaniel reiterated Wednesday that Tagovailoa’s long-term health was paramount and declined to speculate on the quarterback’s future.
“This is a human being, very much like all players,” McDaniel said. “I’m not going to go in direct conflict with what the doctors have told me to do, which is just to worry about one day at a time.”
“This is just a day-at-a-time process, that his health is the first, foremost and only priority.”