Tua Tagovailoa will have to wait at least three weeks before returning to action.
The Miami Dolphins placed their second-year quarterback on injured reserve Saturday, which means he will at least miss the games against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday, against the Indianapolis Colts on Oct. 3 and against the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Oct. 10.
The earliest Tua could be back in the lineup is Oct. 17 when the Dolphins will face the Jacksonville Jaguars in London, England.
Practice squad quarterback Reid Sinnett was promoted to the active roster to take Tua's spot.
Tua's absence means that Jacoby Brissett not only will face the Raiders, but also get to go against his former team (the Colts) and his former teammate Tom Brady.
The decision to place Tagovailoa on injured reserve wasn't overly surprising after head coach Brian Flores revealed Wednesday that he injured he sustained in the 35-0 loss against the Buffalo Bills in the home opener at Hard Rock Stadium involved fractured ribs.
Based on practice squad rules, the Dolphins could have elevated Sinnett to serve as Brissett's backup twice before they would have had to sign him to the 53-man roster or expose him to waivers before he reverted back a third time.
Also on Saturday, a second Dolphins assistant coach — linebackers coach Anthony Campanile — was removed from the game at Las Vegas because of COVID-19 protocols. The other is outside linebackers coach Rob Leonard.
The defensive staff will share Campanile and Leonard's game-day responsibilities.
For Tua, this is a disappointing setback in a season that began with a lot of optimism that he could take the next step as an NFL quarterback after an uneven rookie season when he had to deal with some obstacles, such as coming back from his hip injury and the lack of offseason practices and preseason games because of COVID-19 restrictions.
The injury also, fair or not, brings up again the question of durability when it comes to Tagovailoa, who dealt with his share of injuries at Alabama beyond the dislocated hip — broken finger, knee sprain, quad bruise, ankle sprain — and also missed a game in 2020 because of a thumb injury.
Flores said this week the offense wouldn't have a much different look with Brissett at quarterback instead of Tua, although one would expect less frequent use of the RPO and quick slants and maybe more throws downfield.
The game against Las Vegas will represent Brissett's first season since the 2019 season finale when he was a member of the Indianapolis Colts and was 12-for-25 for 162 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions in a 38-20 loss against Jacksonville.
Brissett, who became the Colts starter that year when Andrew Luck abruptly retired during a preseason game, began 2019 by accumulating a 99.7 passer rating in the first eight games before stumbling down the stretch after missing a game because of an injury — he had a 75.0 rating in the final seven games.
Brissett relieved Tua in the first quarter against Buffalo and completed 24 of 40 passes for 169 yards with no touchdowns and one interception, was sacked four times and was victimized by several dropped passes.
“We’ve got full confidence in him as we do with Tua," wide receiver Albert Wilson said. "We don’t feel like we took a step back with him. We’re excited to have this challenge and move on to better things.”