MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa sustained his second concussion of the season in last week’s loss to Green Bay, Miami coach Mike McDaniel confirmed Wednesday.
Tagovailoa has not been officially ruled out for Sunday’s pivotal game at New England, though it’s unknown when the Dolphins will see him on the field again.
McDaniel said the Dolphins are moving forward with Teddy Bridgewater as their starter.
The NFL and the players association have launched a joint review of the application of the concussion protocol involving Tagovailoa.
“We welcome that review, and as we have done previously, we will report the results in conjunction with the NFLPA,” NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said.
McDaniel said Tagovailoa was at the Dolphins’ facility Wednesday but did not offer details on how he is doing beyond “better than yesterday.”
Tagovailoa appeared to hit the back of his head against the ground when he was tackled in the second quarter against the Packers, but he never left the game and wasn’t immediately evaluated for a concussion.
McDaniel said Monday that the team didn’t see anything during the game that would have made them question if Tagovailoa had a concussion. It wasn’t until they reviewed the tape the next day that they saw inconsistencies with Tagovailoa that concerned them.
Tagovailoa met with doctors Monday afternoon and was placed into the NFL’s concussion protocol after reporting symptoms.
“There were some things that caused us to really prod,” McDaniel said, “and as a result we felt that he needed to see medical professionals.”
Tagovailoa, at 24 years old and in just his third pro season, has now sustained two confirmed concussions since the start of the season.
He entered the concussion protocol in September after taking a scary hit that knocked him unconscious during Miami’s game at Cincinnati. He was stretchered off the field and returned in Week 7.
Tagovailoa took another hard hit four days before the Cincinnati game during a win over Buffalo. He appeared to show concussion symptoms but was evaluated and stayed in the game, drawing criticisms of why he was allowed to return.
The NFL later changed its concussion protocol after a joint review with the NFLPA, mandating that any player who shows possible concussion symptoms — including a lack of balance or stability — sit out the remainder of a game.
Bridgewater replaced Tagovailoa for Miami’s Week 5 matchup against the Jets, but lasted just one play after a hit. A spotter reported seeing him stumble after the play, making Bridgewater ineligible to return.
He returned in Miami’s Week 6 loss to Minnesota and has thrown for 522 yards and three TDs in four appearances this season.
Bridgewater said he didn’t notice anything off with Tagovailoa on Sunday.
“Throughout the course of the game, emotions are high,” Bridgewater said. “Competitive juices set in and you want to continue to fight through whatever you’re going through.”
McDaniel, the Dolphins’ typically loquacious and upbeat coach, appeared concerned for his young quarterback Wednesday, with a visibly somber countenance as he described, in few words, what it has been like to see Tagovailoa suffer another concussion.
“Terrible,” McDaniel said.
He also declined to say whether he would consider sitting Tagovailoa for the rest of the season even after he clears protocols.
The Dolphins will now try to turn their focus to Sunday’s divisional matchup, which will go a long way in determining whether they can clinch a playoff berth. Miami is clinging to the third AFC wild-card spot after losing its past four games.
“Football still means something to the guys in this locker room,” Bridgewater said, “and the guys that’s going out there Sunday.”
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