NFL investigating Tua Tagovailoa’s injury return Dolphins-Bills

Tagovailoa briefly walked out of Sunday’s 21-19 win over the Bills and returned despite appearing disoriented in what the team initially described as a head injury.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Tua Tagovailoa hit her head. Turns out his back was the bigger problem.

In any case, he was cleared to return and played through everything.

Tagovailoa briefly walked out of Sunday’s 21-19 win over the Buffalo Bills and returned despite appearing disoriented in what the team originally described as a head injury. He missed Miami’s final three snaps in the first half, then returned and played the rest of the way as the Dolphins became the AFC’s last undefeated team by beating the Bills.

The return of Tagovailoa raised some questions. A person with knowledge of the matter said after the game that there will be a joint review by the NFL and the National Football League Players Association, which informed the decision to allow Tagovailoa to return to the game. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity as this investigation was not publicly disclosed.

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In accordance with NFL rules, when concussion is suspected, these in-game assessments involve not only the team’s medical staff, but also an independent neurotrauma consultant.

“I was kind of with everyone else. When he hit his head, I assumed it was a head injury,” said Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel. “But his legs got shaky because his lower back was completely loose. And when he was describing it, he said his lower back was like gumby or something.”

Tagovailoa completed 13 of 18 passes for 186 yards and a touchdown for the Dolphins. Where his day nearly went wrong wasn’t a late hit by Buffalo’s Matt Milano, he says, but rather a game earlier that awkwardly bent Tagovailoa.

“I kind of got my legs trapped under someone and they were trying to push back and it felt like I hyperextended my back or something,” Tagovailoa said hurt, and I got up and that’s why I tripped – my back flexed somehow attached to me

Tagovailoa wasn’t the only quarterback to get thrashed during the Bills-Dolphins game, one played in 90-degree heat, which felt even hotter when you factor in 57% humidity. Buffalo’s Josh Allen needed a post-game X-ray of his right hand after hitting a helmet or face mask in the final moments – he wasn’t sure.

Allen had no protection on his hand after exiting the x-ray room.

“I’m fine,” he insisted after a day of 42-on-63, 400 yards and two touchdowns.

Tagovailoa faced a Miami 21 third and third game late in the half when he climbed and found Jaylen Waddle for an 8-yard gain. After releasing the ball, Tagovailoa was hit – a two-handed jab to the chest – by Milano, who was flagged for roughly hitting the passer.

Tagovailoa fell backwards, the back of his helmet bouncing off the grass. He lay there for a few seconds, then rolled to his feet, trotted forward a few steps, and stumbled briefly to the ground again.

A pair of offensive linemen held him down at that point to make sure he wouldn’t fall again, and Dolphins medical staff ran onto the field for further evaluation. They led him off the field straight into the tunnel that led to the Miami locker room.

“I’m fine,” Tagovailoa said. “Every concussion protocol they had passed, so I’m fine.”

Tagovailoa was replaced by Teddy Bridgewater for the three plays he missed. Bridgewater attempted two passes, both fell incomplete.

On the first game of the second half, Tagovailoa found Tyreek Hill for a 22-yard gain and showed no ill effects from the hit. And when the Dolphins got the go-ahead for a run from Chase Edmonds midway through the fourth quarter, Tagovailoa leaped into the air — again without looking too limited.

He wore a wrap around his back after the game and will likely get a ton of treatment in the coming days. It’s a short week for Miami, who plays in Cincinnati on Thursday.

“You’re enjoying it now, but it’s a quick turnaround so you have to move on quickly,” Tagovailoa said. “For me, I’m just worried about getting my back right.”

He also said he would get some tests on his back.

“I don’t want to say I’m a genius and I’ll feel good tomorrow,” he said. “We will see. We’ll do some tests and then come back tomorrow. “ NFL investigating Tua Tagovailoa’s injury return Dolphins-Bills

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