Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa came into Thursday night's matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals with back and ankle injuries, but he did suit up. Late in the second quarter, however, he was taken off the field on a stretcher after taking a violent sack.
On second-and-7, Tagovailoa was sacked by Bengals defensive lineman Josh Tupou for a loss of 10 yards. Tagovailoa went down on his already-injured back, and appeared to hit his head as well. It was a frightening scene, as Tagovailoa raised his hands with what was described by the Amazon broadcast as a neurological response to head trauma. He remained on the turf for several minutes before ultimately being loaded on a stretcher and taken off the field. Teddy Bridgewater replaced Tagovailoa under center.
The Dolphins quickly ruled Tagovailoa out with what they classified as head and neck injuries. The team also said he was conscious and had movement in all his extremities. Per Amazon's broadcast, Tagovailoa was taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. NFL Media reported Tagovailoa was transported there via ambulance.
Following Miami's 27-15 loss, the Dolphins offered a very positive update on their quarterback, saying that Tagovailoa is expected to be discharged from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, and will fly home with the team Thursday evening.
Many hypothesized Tagovailoa suffered a concussion last week against the Buffalo Bills after taking a hard sack from linebacker Matt Milano. Miami's QB was stumbling on the field after the hit, causing many to believe he had suffered a head injury. He exited and returned to the game, however, and finished out the 21-19 win. The NFLPA said afterward it would review whether the Dolphins followed the concussion protocol, but the team has maintained it was a back issue.
After social media outcry following Tua's latest injury, the NFLPA released a statement via Twitter:
"Player health and safety is at the core of the union's mission. Our concern tonight is for Tua and we hope for a full and speedy recovery. Our investigation into the potential protocol violation is ongoing."
Tagovailoa completed 8 of 14 passes for 110 yards and one interception on Thursday night before exiting the game. The third-year signal-caller from Alabama entered this matchup second in the NFL with 925 passing yards, and tied for third in passing touchdowns with eight.