Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa met with the media on Tuesday, midway between the team’s Week 3 win over the Buffalo Bills and their Thursday Night Football contest against the Cincinnati Bengals to kick off Week 4. Tagovailoa appeared to suffer a concussion during Sunday’s game against Buffalo, with the quarterback stumbling after having his head hit the turf. He was escorted back to the locker room, where he spent the end of the first half, but then he returned to the field to start the second half. After the injury initially being listed as a head injury, reports indicated it was instead a back injury. Asked on Tuesday how his head is feeling, Tagovialoa responded, “Yes, I’m fine.”
Turning toward his back and ankle, Tagovailoa explained, “I’ve been up here getting treatment, doing everything I can to get as close to 100 percent as possible. That means after all of this, staying as long as I have to until these guys have to go home.”
“It’s a tricky scenario,” head coach Mike McDaniel explained on Tuesday when asked about Tagovailoa’s repetitions in practice and if he would be able to full participate in a workout. “Luckily that’s one of the reasons why we feel so fortunate to have Teddy (Bridgewater). But if this were like an actual real practice on a normal week, Tua (Tagovailoa) would be limited and he would be questionable for the game.”
Asked about Tagovailoa’s back and if it is a pain issue or a functionality issue, McDaniel explained, “Literally like pain and stability of both injuries [back and ankle] because I’m not sure – have you ever thrown your back out at all or had any…? Like apparently, you need your back for literally everything. So it’s the functionality of it because all of a sudden your back’s overly tight or you feel that crazy pain. Your body has a reaction process that you can all of a sudden – you can lose all your power in your throws, you can’t redirect and once you can’t protect yourself on an NFL football field, we have to protect you. So it’s both. Yeah, there’ll be some pain regardless. It’s whether or not that pain hurts him from being able to put his production on the field and escape impending danger, which is part of the job of an NFL quarterback on Sundays, or Thursdays.”
Tagovailoa agreed, saying, “I would say everything (is impacted by the back injury). Having to twist, to hand the ball off, having to toss the ball, having to throw the ball. Every aspect of it.”
During Tuesday’s walkthrough practice, the Dolphins estimated Tagovailoa as a limited participant. They also listed defensive tackle Raekwon Davis (knee), cornerback Xavien Howard (groin/glute), lineman Robert Hunt (shin), safety Brandon Jones (chest), cornerback Kader Kohou (ankle), defensive lineman Zach Sieler (hand), wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (groin), and wide receiver Cedrick Wilson, Jr. (ribs/toe) as limited for the workout. Safety Jevon Holland (neck) and tackle Greg Little (finger) were both estimated as full participants.
On the other end of the report, Miami listed tackle Terron Armstead (toe), tight end Cethan Carter (concussion), and tight end Hunter Long (ankle) as non-participants in Tuesday’s practice. Armstead has missed several practices of the last several weeks, but he has been able to play in the game each weekend. He likely will be available for Thursday’s game as well. Both Carter and Long have missed the last two games due to their injuries.
The Bengals held a practice on Tuesday after an estimation on Monday. Offensive tackle La’el Collins, defensive tackle DJ Reader, and tight end Drew Sample were all non-participants; Collins is dealing with a back injury while Reader and Sample both have knee issues.
Cornerback Eli Apple (ankle), wide receiver Tee Higgins (toe), tight end Hayden Hurst (groin), running back Joe Mixon (ankle), linebacker Germaine Pratt (knee), and tight end Mitchell Wilcox (ankle) were all limited on Monday, but were full participants on Tuesday.
The Dolphins and Bengals kick off on Thursday night at 8:15 p.m. ET from Cincinnati’s Paycor Stadium.