Tua Tagovailoa is expected to play in Thursday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals after the Miami Dolphins' gritty win on Sunday left the third-year quarterback with back and ankle soreness heading into the short week, according to a report.
Sources told the NFL Network that Tagovailoa is expected to play on Thursday, a decision head coach Mike McDaniel said he was hoping to announce well before kickoff.
The initial concern for Tagovailoa was a possible head injury after his head hit the ground in the final two minutes of the half after a hard shove from Buffalo Bills linebacker Matt Milano.
But McDaniel said Monday that Tagovailoa was cleared from concussion protocol and able to return, despite suffering from back soreness. He also mentioned that Tagovailoa was suffering from ankle soreness the following day.
"Everyone was so worried about trying to talk to him through the lens of, 'Hey, is there something wrong with your head' and he was (like), 'No, I'm fine.' And he was dealing with his back. He knew that he was losing his balance a little bit when he was getting up, but it was a completely different source of issue from what everyone else was really looking at from that prism."
Tagovailoa said after the game that he felt like he "hyperextended" his back on a previous play and then while hitting the ground on the next play caused his back to "lock up," leading him to stumble on the field.
The NFL also announced Wednesday that the early stages of the NFLPA probe suggests "every indication" that Miami properly followed the league’s concussion protocol in dealing with Tagovailoa’s injury.
According to reports, wide receiver Jaylen Waddle is also expected to return for Thursday night’s game after dealing with a groin injury.