MIAMI — Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who is in the concussion protocol for the second time this season, will not play in Sunday’s crucial game against the New England Patriots.
Coach Mike McDaniel said, Wednesday, that there is no timetable for Tagovailoa’s return and that his status for the regular season finale against the New York Jets is unclear.
Teddy Bridgewater will 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 post-game.
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 is reviewing the situation, a source said, but that is standard procedure anytime a player enters protocol.
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 and 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 said Monday that Tagivailoa’s long-term health was paramount.
“I take that seriously, so I just want him to get healthy and have peace of mind in that regard,” he said. “That’s first and foremost, and then whatever the circumstances are after, you deal with after. It’s about the human being and making sure he’s squared away.”