The Miami Dolphins have placed quarterback Tua Tagovailoa on injured reserve, meaning that he'll have to miss at least three games.
The former Alabama standout suffered a rib injury last week against the Buffalo Bills — which was initially diagnosed as bruised and he was ruled out for Sunday's game at the Las Vegas Raiders — but has since been changed to fractured ribs.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network had the initial report, and added that the team's hope is that Tagovailoa will be able to return after missing only three games.
Jacoby Brissett is expected to start in his absence.
Per All Dolphins, former NFL team doctor David Chao, now of ProFootballDoc.com suggested earlier this week that Tagovailoa's injury could keep him out a while.
"With multiple rib fractures now confirmed by head coach Brian Flores based on additional testing," Chao said on Twitter, "this makes it even harder to do rib blocks because you'd have to do multiple rib blocks, increasing the risk, but also it increases the chance of a punctured lung with a second hit and a flak jacket cannot protect completely against that. With this news, it's not only that he won't play Week 3, I think it's unlikely he plays Week 4. It's even possible that he goes on a short three-week IR stint. Rib fractures start to heal in two weeks, maybe three weeks, and if he can't play now one week out from the fractures (plural), it makes unlikely he'll be able to play the following week either."
Miami began its regular season with a 17-16 win at New England, a matchup featuring two former Crimson Tide quarterbacks, Tagovailoa and Mac Jones of the Patriots.
Tagovailoa was 16-for-27 passes for 202 yards, one passing touchdown and one interception. Prior to his injury versus the Bills, he was 1-for-4 passes for 13 yards.
After a rookie season in which he made 10 appearances and nine starts when coming off a major hip injury, the fifth-overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft entered 2021 as the announced starter for Miami.
The Dolphins have built the offense around him, including with new teammates like wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, who was a first round draft pick in May and former teammate of Tagovailoa's at Alabama.