Tua Tagovailoa is not on concussion protocol, according to his head coach Mike McDaniel, after the Miami Dolphins quarterback appeared to hit his head on the ground in the team’s win over Buffalo on Sunday.
Tagovailoa and McDaniel said after the game that it was a back injury that was giving the third-year quarterback trouble. And McDaniel reiterated Monday that Tagovailoa’s back and ankle are “sore,” but the team will know more after he undergoes more tests. McDaniel would not commit to whether Tagovailoa would play the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night.
“It’s my first time in a Thursday night game with Tua, so I’m not assuming anything,” McDaniel said. “But it wasn’t outside the extreme norm of bumps and bruises after a game.”
Tagovailoa took a hit from Bill’s linebacker Matt Milano and appeared disoriented as he got to his feet. The Dolphins originally said it was a head injury, and Tagovailoa missed Miami’s final three snaps of the first half. He started the third quarter again.
Tagovailoa’s quick return has drawn skepticism, with the NFL and the NFL Players Association saying they are conducting a joint review of what went into the decision to allow Tagovailoa to return to the game.
Under NFL rules, a player must undergo in-game evaluations if he has a possible concussion. Those evaluations involve the team’s medical staff as well as an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant. McDaniel said Tagovailoa was cleared by the team and the independent neurologist before re-entering the game.
McDaniel added that the Dolphins are happy to comply with the investigation and were pleased with the process they followed on Sunday. He said the Dolphins would not have moved “in the direction that we did if there had been any kind of red flag.”
“I don’t mess with that,” he said. “Tua was pretty upset with me in the game when she was talking to him because she knew what hurt and she didn’t understand why people kept talking to him about what we were talking about.”