Tua Tagovailoa in concussion protocol ahead of Patriots game originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has been placed in concussion protocol, Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel announced on Monday. That leaves the third-year starting QB's status in doubt for Sunday's Week 17 showdown when they visit the New England Patriots.
McDaniel did not confirm when Tagovailoa might have sustained the head injury, but some on social media are pointing to a play late in the second quarter as the potential source.
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“I care very deeply about each and every player. I take that very serious," McDaniel said. "I just want him to get healthy and have peace of mind in that regard.”
This is Tagovailoa's third time in concussion protocol this season. The 24-year-old first sustained a heavy blow during a Week 3 matchup against the Buffalo Bills. He was visibly unsteady and evaluated in the locker room before returning to the field to lead Miami to a second-half win.
Tagovailoa's return -- and the decision to allow him to play four days later against the Cincinnati Bengals -- sparked controversy around the league and among healthcare professionals. He ultimately suffered a scary concussion against the Bengals that required him to leave in an ambulance and missed two games.
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The NFL launched an investigation into the Dolphins medical staff's handling of Tagovailoa's injury. The NFL Players Association later fired the doctor who evaluated evaluated Tagovailoa the week prior against the Bills.
The Patriots have yet to beat Tagovailoa, who owns a 5-0 record in his career vs. New England. If Tagovailoa can't suit up on Sunday, veteran QB Teddy Bridgewater presumably would take his place.
The Week 17 matchup is a must-win for the 7-8 Patriots as a loss will eliminate them from playoff contention. They would overtake the Dolphins in the AFC standings with a victory.