The Miami Dolphins have gotten some clarity on quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s rib injury, but his status for the team's game against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday remains unclear.
Head coach Brian Flores called Tagovailoa “day-to-day” Monday, one day after he was knocked out of the Dolphins’ 35-0 loss in their home opener against the Buffalo Bills.
“We’re still running some tests,” Flores said Monday afternoon. “He was in a lot of pain yesterday. He’s still in a good deal of pain today.”
How much pain Tagovailoa can tolerate while playing could be a determining factor in whether he’s able to start against the Raiders, along with his ability to function. Flores said the Dolphins also would look into the possibility of having Tagovailoa fitted with a flak jacket.
“He’s a tough kid,” Flores said. “I would say he’s a very tough kid. Whether it’s just coming back from the hip (injury) .... I think he had a thumb (injury) last year that he played through. He tried to go yesterday. Toughness isn’t something that we question with him. He’s going to do everything he can to get back as soon as he can. I have a lot of confidence in that. No, he’s a tough kid for sure.”
X-rays of Tagovailoa’s ribs taken at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday were negative, and additional tests done Monday morning revealed no major issues, according to NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero.
Tagovailoa was injured on the Dolphins' second drive of the game Sunday when Buffalo defensive end A.J. Epenesa planted him into the ground as Tagovailoa was throwing a pass on fourth-and-2.
After the pass fell incomplete, Tagovailoa struggled to walk back to the sideline and eventually was carted inside Hard Rock Stadium.
He was 1-for-4 for 13 yards and was sacked twice during his nine snaps.
Veteran Jacoby Brissett took over for Tagovailoa and went 24-for-40 for 169 yards with one interception in the 35-0 loss. Brissett was sacked four times.
It indeed was a very rough afternoon for the offensive line, but Flores said that concerns about that unit’s performance never would factor into any decision regarding his quarterback.
“I think we’re making the corrections, really, at all positions,” Flores said. “We go into it every game thinking we are going to get the quarterback protected. That’s always a point of emphasis. Obviously, we didn’t do that yesterday, so we will make some adjustments to make sure that gets done. That’s not going to be part of it. If Tua can go, he’s going to go. That’s the kind of kid he is.”
If Tagovailoa ends up not being able to play against Las Vegas, Brissett likely would make his first start for the Dolphins and Reid Sinnett possibly could be elevated from the practice squad to serve as his backup.