Tua Tagovailoa's health was a major storyline ahead of No. 5 Alabama's game on Saturday at Mississippi State, but his injured ankle ended up being the least of his or the team's concerns. Tagovailoa suffered a dislocated right hip in the second quarter and was carted off the field midway through the eventual 38-7 win. Though he will miss the remainder of the 2019 season, Tagovailoa underwent a successful surgery on Monday in Houston, and his "prognosis is excellent." He is expected to make a full recovery.
Alabama's team orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Lyle Cain, announced Saturday night that Tagovailoa's right hip dislocation was "immediately reduced at the stadium." The Athletic's Aaron Suttles reported that Tagovailoa also suffered a posterior wall fracture. On Sunday, Cain announced that Tagovailoa was set to undergo surgery Monday in Houston. That surgery has now been completed, and Tagovailoa will be returning to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in the coming days to begin his rehabilitation.
"The procedure went as planned, and he is resting comfortably," Cain said in a statement. "Tua's prognosis is excellent, and we expect him to make a full recovery."
This lines up with what anearlier Sunday.
Should Tagovailoa's rehabilitation go according to plan, according to ESPN's Laura Rutledge, he'll be allowed to return to athletic activity within a three-month period and is expected to resume throwing the football by spring.
Tagovailoa was unable to put any weight on the right side of his body after falling hard on his right hip. He was reportedly "screaming in pain" when being removed from the cart in the locker room area, according to ESPN sideline reporter Molly McGrath. Trainers also treated Tagovailoa for a bloody nose suffered when his facemask hit the turf head-on.
"It's a hip injury and probably something that could be pretty serious," coach Nick Saban said after the game. During a halftime interview, Saban noted that Tagovailoa was injured on what was supposed to be his last series of the game. "We were going to do 2-minute before the half with him, just for practice," Saban said.
Tagovailoa was immediately taken to a local hospital before being airlifted via helicopter to St. Vincent's Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama, according to Tide beat writer Cecil Hurt.
Tagovailoa was playing well to that point and looked OK after he gritted through last week's 46-41 loss to No. 1 LSU. At the time of his injury, he was 14 of 18 for 256 yards passing and two touchdowns. Alabama had a 35-7 lead with touchdowns on its first five possessions, and Saban made it clear Tagovailoa was on his way to being pulled from the game.
Saban will undoubtedly receive a ton of questions about the decision to play Tagovailoa -- at all and especially that late into the second quarter given the score.
Mac Jones played the rest of the way for the Crimson Tide and finished 7-of-11 passing for 94 yards. He had one start this season previously against Arkansas when Tagovailoa was initially unavailable to play because of his high-ankle sprain. Jones was solid against the Razorbacks, going 18 of 22 for 235 yards passing and three touchdowns. Jones was an option to start on Saturday against the Bulldogs with Tagovailoa considered a game-time decision.