The Miami Dolphins will be without quarterback Tua Tagovailoa for their game against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday, and possibly longer.
Head coach Brian Flores began his media session Wednesday by announcing that additional tests revealed that Tagovailoa had sustained fractured ribs during the 35-0 loss against the Buffalo Bills in the Dolphins' home opener Sunday.
"Obviously he’s in a lot of pain, so he’ll be out this week," Flores said. "We’re just going to take it week to week ... really, let’s call it day-to-day and week-to-week, but he’ll be out this week. Look, this is a tough kid. He wants to play. He’s actually trying to play and we’re just going to save him from himself a little bit on this and hold him out this week and then take it week-to-week from there.”
In Tagovailoa's absence, Jacoby Brissett will start against the Raiders and quarterback Reid Sinnett will be elevated from the practice squad to serve as the backup.
Flores declined to put a timetable on how long Tagovailoa would be out when asked whether the second-year quarterback could end up being placed on injured reserve.
"We’ll take it day to day," Flores said. "Like I said, he wants to play and I think he would try to play, but we’ve just got to see how he responds over the next days. That’s not something that we’re really thinking about right now, but we gotta see how this trends over the course of the week.”
Tagovailoa was injured in the first quarter Sunday when he was hit by Bills defensive end A.J. Epenesa while attempting a fourth-down pass that fell incomplete.
X-rays taken at the stadium were negative.
"We did some more tests (Monday) and that revealed the fractures," Flores said. "That’s what it is. He’s in a lot of pain. Was I surprised? You know, we got an initial diagnosis and we decided to run some more tests like we talked about on Monday. We ran them and we got this information. It’s unfortunate, but thankfully it’s not something that we think is going to be … actually, I don’t want to put a timetable on it. He’s taking it day to day. He’s better, but still dealing with some pain and we’ll take it one day at a time.”
This will be the second start of his young career that Tua will miss because of an injury.
After replacing Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starting quarterback in Week 8 last season, Tagovailoa had to sit out the game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium because of a thumb injury.
"He’s in good spirits," Flores said. "This is a tough kid. He’s doing everything he can to get back as quickly as he can right now. He’s getting better. He wants to be out there, wants to be with his teammates and I think this is the right move for him from a health standpoint. Again, he wants to be out there and we’ve got to protect him."