Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel isn’t willing to make a call on a potential return for injured quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with Miami having clinched the seventh and final spot in the AFC playoffs.
Tagovailoa, who entered concussion protocol on Dec. 26 and has missed the last two games, has yet to clear protocol. It marked the second time this season Tagovailoa was diagnosed with a concussion.
“We have a lot of question marks,” McDaniel told reporters after Miami’s 11-6 victory over the New York Jets, per the team. “We’ll continue to take it day-by-day and I will not even think about any sort of game whether it’s this year or next year until he’s fully ready to do so. That comes with medical clearance. That’s why the procedure is in place.
“So I haven’t even thought about that,” McDaniel continued. “I’m ready for either quarterback against the Bills. There’s a lot of things that we have to get through the training room first.”
There’s a chance Tagovailoa is cleared before the Dolphins face the Buffalo Bills in the AFC wild-card round. That would mean McDaniel is left to make the decision about whether Tagovailoa should start less than three weeks after he suffered a second documented concussion in a three-month span.
Veteran Teddy Bridgewater did not play in Week 18 though he served in the backup role after dislocating his pinkie in Week 17. Skylar Thompson, who even went into the blue medical tent mid-game, started and finished it out. If Tagovailoa can’t go, it likely would be one of those two against the Bills.
“Yeah they’ll be some question marks but fortunately this team has proven not to blink at any sort of question marks either way,” McDaniel said. “We have guys we really believe in and we’ll go with the healthiest group up to Buffalo and play a very good football team.”
McDaniel was asked a follow-up about Tagovailoa’s return and again stressed how he will take it “day-by-day” and assess everything we the former first-rounder is fully cleared to play, whenever that is.