Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered a concussion against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, head coach Mike McDaniel said on Wednesday.
McDaniel told reporters Tagovailoa’s status for Sunday’s game at the New England Patriots is uncertain and that the team is moving forward with Teddy Bridgewater as the starter.
The 24-year-old Tagovailoa, who was diagnosed with his second concussion this season, is improving and is at the team’s practice facility on Wednesday, according to McDaniel.
“He’s better than yesterday,” McDaniel said. “Beyond that, I feel like it’s weird to extrapolate beyond good, which is what he tells me.”
McDaniel on Monday announced Tagovailoa was in the concussion protocol, a day after the quarterback played the entire game against the Packers. The coach could not pinpoint a moment in the game where Tagovailoa might have been injured.
It was the second time this season the quarterback landed in the concussion protocol – the league’s policies for assessing and caring for players who sustain a concussion.
McDaniel on Wednesday said that when he and other coaches reviewed game film on Monday they “had some questions” about Tagovailoa’s health, so the head coach urged the quarterback to see team doctors.
Tagovailoa started the game well, throwing for 229 yards and a touchdown in the first half. It was a different story in the second half with Tagovailoa throwing interceptions on three consecutive drives to end the team’s 26-20 loss.
“There were some things that caused us to really prod,” McDaniel told reporters Wednesday. “As a result, we felt like he needed to see medical professionals.”
An NFL spokesperson said Wednesday the league and the NFL Players Association are reviewing “the application of the concussion protocol” in Tagovailoa’s latest case.
“We welcome that review, and as we have done previously, we will report the results in conjunction with the NFLPA,” the NFL’s Brian McCarthy said.
Tagovailoa was diagnosed with a concussion on September 29 after being sacked in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Tagovailoa laid motionless on the field for several minutes before he was placed on a backboard and stretcher. He missed the team’s next two games.
That concussion came just days after Tagovailoa suffered an apparent head injury and was later allowed to continue playing in a game against the Buffalo Bills on September 25.
Despite assurances it was actually a back injury, the NFLPA initiated a review into the handling of that case, and the union and the NFL subsequently agreed to update the concussion protocol.
McDaniel on Wednesday was non-committal on shutting down Tagovailoa for the season even if he is cleared to play again.
“I will do what the medical experts advise me to do, and I’m sure they’re not going to advise me in the wrong direction when it comes to his health,” McDaniel said.
“I’m not going to go in direct conflict with what the doctors have told me to do which is to worry one day at a time. … His health is the first, foremost and only priority.”
With a record of 8-7 and a playoff spot on the line, the Dolphins close out the season at the Patriots and then host the New York Jets on January 8.