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Tua Tagovailoa undergoing tests in Miami; no timetable for Dolphins QB’s return to field

Tua Tagovailoa was back in Miami on Friday, undergoing tests after he sustained head and neck injuries in Thursday night’s game against Cincinnati.
The Dolphins quarterback was carted off the field on a stretcher after being tossed to the turf in the first half, went to the hospital and underwent X-rays and CT scans. Tagovailoa was discharged Thursday night in time to meet his team at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati wearing a neck brace and travel back to Miami after the Fins’ 27-15 loss to the Bengals.
On Friday, Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel told reporters that Tagovailoa was in the process of wrapping up an MRI, which he described as an extra precaution, and that he had no timetable for his starting QB’s return to the field.
“Honestly, to be completely forthright, I’m not even really thinking about timetables or anything regarding him as a player right now. It’s all about, really, Tua the person,” McDaniel said. “What gets lost in all this is that there’s human relationships, you know, these aren’t just create-a-players, these are people that we mutually invest in and somebody I’ve grown very very close to. When it comes to head injuries and concussions, with things that severe, the only thing I’m worried about is the person first. Just worried about him getting healthy, getting all the testing done that he needs to get done and us working with him so that we can feel good about where that injury is at, and then we will cross the bridge in terms of timetables of however long. Really haven’t even thought about that at this point.”
Tagovailoa issued a statement on Friday afternoon following McDaniel’s press conference.
“I want to thank everyone for all of their prayers and support since the game last night,” he said. “It was difficult to not be able to finish the game and be there with my teammates, but I am grateful for the support and care I’ve received from the Dolphins, my friends and family, and all the people who have reached out. I’m feeling much better and focused on recovering so I can get back out on the field with my teammates.”
Tagovailoa’s injury Thursday night came four days after he exited Miami’s Week 3 game to be evaluated for a head injury. The Dolphins QB was determined by a team trainer and an independent neuro-consultant to instead have suffered back and ankle injuries and was allowed to return to the game.
The NFL Players Association said Sunday it planned to investigate if proper concussion protocol was followed during the game against the Bills. The NFL on Wednesday confirmed a review was ongoing, but every indication was that proper protocol had been followed. The NFLPA released a statement Thursday night stating its investigation is ongoing and that its “concern tonight is for Tua and we hope for a full and speedy recovery.”
McDaniel reiterated Friday that he had “100 percent conviction” in Miami’s handling of Tagovailoa’s injury last Sunday and into Thursday night.
“I appreciate all the concern really because I care about the guy and I appreciate all the concern for the individual,” McDaniel said. “What I was kind of referring to in terms of not changing anything I do is because the whole process for what happened in the Bills game was he was evaluated for a head injury immediately. That’s what we brought him under the tent for, brought him inside for. He was evaluated and then cleared by several layers of medical professionals — I don’t pretend to be one — but those people, the collection of them, cleared him of any head injury whatsoever and he had a back and ankle issue. So, in terms of deciding whether or not to play a guy on a Thursday night game, I’m concerned about his lower back and his ankle and putting him in harm’s way.
“This is a player-friendly organization that, you know I make it very clear from the onset — my job as a coach is here for the players. I take that very serious and no one else in the building strays from that. When I’m talking about deciding whether or not to play, the only thing that would keep me from playing him would be something going against medical advice that was, that would be just completely abstract. On top of all that, I had no worries whatsoever.

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