Miami Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa has concussion; no timeline for return

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is examined after he was injured against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 29, 2022.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is examined after he was injured at Cincinnati on Thursday night. He suffered a concussion when he hit his head against the turf.
(Jeff Dean / Associated Press)

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered a concussion when he hit his head against the turf in Thursday night’s 27-15 road loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, and he underwent additional testing Friday.

Tagovailoa had a headache Thursday night and Friday morning, Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said. The team was waiting still for results from an MRI exam, which McDaniel said was done out of “extra precaution” on top of the CT scans and X-rays taken the night before.

McDaniel said he had no timetable on when Tagovailoa might be able to return.

“I’m not even really thinking about timetables or anything regarding him as a player right now,” McDaniel said. “It’s all about Tua the person.”


Tagovailoa was sacked by Bengals defensive tackle Josh Topou late in the first half Thursday. On the play, he spun awkwardly and was thrown to the turf. While on the ground, Tagovailoa appeared to display the fencing response, with his fingers frozen in front of his face.

He remained down for more than seven minutes before he was loaded onto a backboard and taken on a stretcher off the field. He was brought to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for evaluation.

The Dolphins later said he was conscious and had movement in all of his extremities. He was discharged Thursday night and flew back to Miami with the team.

Joe Burrow tossed a late two-yard touchdown pass to Hayden Hurst to seal a 27-15 win for the Cincinnati Bengals over Miami on Thursday.

Sept. 29, 2022

McDaniel said Tagovailoa was interacting with teammates on the flight home. He sat next to McDaniel and talked to him about the game.

“His personality was normal Tua,” McDaniel added.

It was unclear what is next for Tagovailoa, whose breakout season has been interrupted by a scary injury two weeks after he threw a career-high six touchdown passes in Week 2 against Baltimore.


It is another obstacle in what has been an up-and-down NFL career for the former Alabama quarterback.

The Dolphins, amid a rebuild in 2020, drafted Tagovailoa No. 5 overall in the first round to be a franchise-altering piece after a college career that included a national championship in January 2018 with the Crimson Tide.

But when that didn’t happen as quickly as Miami anticipated, questions arose on whether to stick with the young quarterback or go in another direction.

Tagovailoa seemed to be answering those questions through the first three weeks of the season, efficiently using the weapons that Miami surrounded him with during the offseason, including star wide receiver Tyreek Hill, to lead the Dolphins to a 3-0 record heading into Thursday’s game.

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Sept. 29, 2022

Including his 110 passing yards before leaving Thursday’s game, Tagovailoa is second in the NFL in passing yards (1,035) and has thrown 10 touchdown passes against three interceptions.

Tagovailoa dealt with injuries in his career, including a dislocated right hip in 2019 as Alabama’s starting quarterback.

On Sunday against Buffalo, Tagovailoa took a hit from Bills linebacker Matt Milano late in the first half and appeared to hit his head on the turf. He stumbled when he got up and was immediately taken to the locker room, where he was evaluated for a concussion. He returned to the game at the start of the third quarter and was not in the concussion protocol the next week, despite questions about why he was allowed to return to the game.

McDaniel reiterated Friday that Tagovailoa was cleared by several layers of medical professionals during that game and said he did not have a head injury.

“My job as a coach is here for the players. I take that very serious,” McDaniel said. “And no one else in the building strays from that.”

He added: “There was no medical indication from all resources that there was anything regarding the head. If there would have been, of course, I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if I prematurely put someone out there.”