Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is out indefinitely after he suffered a horrifying injury during his team’s road game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 29 when he was slammed to the ground while being sacked during the second quarter.
“I’m not even really thinking about timetables or anything regarding him as a player right now,” Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel told reporters Sept. 30.
“I talked to him today and I reiterated the same thing because he was bringing up to me, ‘Man I just hope I don’t miss X, Y or Z game,’” McDaniel added.
“And I said, ‘Tua let’s stop this right now. Don’t even think about a game. Let’s just think about doing everything the right way to listen, to get opinions that you need. And let’s worry about you and your head and being a healthy human being and we’ll worry about playing football later.'"
Tagovailoa later posted a statement on Twitter, thanking his fans for their prayers and support.
"It was difficult to not be able to finish the game and be there with my teammates, but I am grateful for the support and care I've received from the Dolphins, my friends and family, and all the people who reached out," he added. "I'm feeling much better and focused on recovering so I can get back out on the field with my teammates."
Tagovailoa, 24, was placed on a stretcher and taken to the hospital after he remained on the ground for more than seven minutes during the Sept. 29 game while medical personnel tended to him. He could be seen curling his fingers while he was on the ground after the play.
Shortly after the sack, the Dolphins tweeted that Tagovailoa, the fifth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, suffered head and neck injuries and that he had been taken to a hospital, before providing a later update.
“QB Tua Tagovailoa is expected to be discharged from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and will fly home with the team tonight,” the Dolphins said on Twitter.
QB Tua Tagovailoa is expected to be discharged from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and will fly home with the team tonight.
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) September 30, 2022
Tagovailoa’s head appeared to bounce off the ground after he was sacked by the Bengals’ Josh Tupou.
After the game, McDaniel told reporters that Tagovailoa likely suffered a concussion.
“That was an emotional moment that is not part of the deal that anyone signs up for, even though you know it’s a possibility,” he said.
Tagovailoa got hurt in last weekend’s game against the Buffalo Bills when he was hit and appeared disoriented after standing up. He left that game for a short period, but came back to lead his team to victory, clearing concussion protocol. Tagovailoa said he suffered a back injury.
“I hit my back and kind of hurt and then I got up and that’s kind of why I stumbled," the quarterback told reporters after the game. “My back kind of locked up on me. But for the most part, I’m good, passed whatever concussion protocol they had.”
The latest injury has led the NFL Players Association to investigate whether proper concussion protocol was followed after last week's game.
"Player health and safety is at the core of the union’s mission," the NFLPA tweeted following Tagovailoa's injury against the Bengals. "Our concern tonight is for Tua and we hope for a full and speedy recovery. Our investigation into the potential protocol violation is ongoing.
Tagovailoa left the game against the Bengals with 5:43 remaining in the second quarter and his team trailing, 7-6. Cincinnati wound up winning the game, 27-15, handing Miami its first loss of the season.
The Dolphins next play Oct. 8 against the New York Jets.
This article was originally published on TODAY.com