Tua Tagovailoa undergoes surgery for high ankle sprain, will miss Arkansas game

TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA - OCTOBER 19:  Tua Tagovailoa #13 of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks to pass against the Tennessee Volunteers in the first half at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 19, 2019 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Tua Tagovailoa will not return against Tennessee. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will miss next week’s game against Arkansas after suffering a high ankle sprain against Tennessee, coach Nick Saban said in a statement on Sunday.

Tagovailoa had a surgical procedure performed on his ankle on Sunday morning.

“Tua Tagovailoa suffered a high-ankle sprain last night against Tennessee. Our physicians performed a successful tight-rope procedure on his right ankle this morning,” Saban said. “This is the same injury, but the opposite ankle that Tua injured last season. Tua will miss next week’s game against Arkansas, but we expect a full and speedy recovery.”

Saban previously said after the game on Saturday that Tagovailoa will be sidelined for a week or two. Tagovailoa injured the other ankle in last year’s SEC title game but returned in time for the College Football semifinal matchup against Oklahoma a month later.

Tagovailoa exited Saturday night’s game after having his ankle rolled while being pulled to the ground by a defender. A limping Tagovailoa was seen heading into the sideline medical tent in the second quarter as Alabama backup quarterback Mac Jones entered the game, and the Heisman contender soon walked to the locker room without assistance.

Tagovailoa was later ruled out for the rest of the game and reportedly taken from Bryant-Denny Stadium to a hospital, then returned to the locker room, per the ESPN broadcast.

A Heisman Trophy favorite entering this year, Tagovailoa has followed up his record-setting 2018 season with another incredible campaign. In six games before Saturday, the junior had thrown for 2,011 passing yards with a 73.6 completion rate and a 27-to-1 touchdown-interception ratio in the Tide’s elite offense. He was 11-of-12 for 155 yards and an interception before the injury vs. the Vols.

The 1-2 week timeframe for Tagovailoa’s recovery fits into a convenient stretch for the Tide. After facing 2-5 Arkansas, the Tide has a bye week before a much-anticipated showdown with No. 2 LSU on Nov. 9. That game could determine not just the winner of the SEC West, but also have a major impact on the College Football Playoff field.

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