Tua Tagovailoa limited in return to practice, won't play against Vikings

Rookie QB Skylar Thompson to start as Tagovailoa, Teddy Bridgewater remain in concussion protocol
Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa at Cincinnati Bengals, Sept. 29, 2022
Posted at 9:37 AM, Oct 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-13 09:40:35-04

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa returned to practice Wednesday in a limited capacity, but he won't play Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, head coach Mike McDaniel said.

"I do not plan to have him play at all," McDaniel told reporters Wednesday.

Tagovailoa has been in the concussion protocol since Sept. 29 when he took a hit against the Cincinnati Bengals and had to be taken off the field by stretcher. He was taken to a hospital in Cincinnati but flew back with the team.

Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa taken off field on stretcher at Cincinnati Bengals, Sept. 29, 2022
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is taken off the field on a stretcher during the second quarter of a "Thursday Night Football" game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Cincinnati.

The former first-round draft pick hadn't practiced with the team since then. He took hard hits in successive games, and the NFL's concussion protocol was subsequently changed to address the symptoms he had during a 21-19 home win against the Buffalo Bills.

Although McDaniel said there is a "definite scenario" in which Tagovailoa could be medically cleared to return before Sunday's game, he wouldn't want to put his No. 1 quarterback at risk.

"He hasn't done a thing on the football field for literally two weeks," McDaniel said. "That wouldn't be fair to the player. That wouldn't be fair to the team. I think that's something that I don't feel comfortable putting them in that situation."

Teddy Bridgewater, who started in Tagovailoa's place last weekend, was taken to the locker room and evaluated for a concussion after taking a hard hit on Miami's first offensive snap.

Miami Dolphins QB Teddy Bridgewater leaves field after taking hit at New York Jets, Oct. 9, 2022
Miami Dolphins quarterback Teddy Bridgewater leaves the field after taking a hit from the New York Jets during the first quarter Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, in East Rutherford, N.J.

"He feels good," McDaniel said. "The soreness on his pec is getting better, but in this stage of the (concussion) protocol, he is unable to do anything football-related with his team."

Rookie quarterback Skylar Thompson will start Sunday against the Vikings as Tagovailoa and Bridgewater advance through the concussion protocol.

"He's going to have the opportunity to have all the full-speed reps this week because of the position that Teddy is in the protocol," McDaniel said. "We're very fortunate to have three quarterbacks that our guys really believe they can operate at high level with. So it wasn't that difficult of a decision for me to make in this set of circumstances."