Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa out vs. Jets, still no 'definitive timeline' for return

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will not play against the New York Jets in Week 5, head coach Mike McDaniel said on Monday.

There's no timeline for his return, and he's still in concussion protocol, but there was encouraging news: There were no issues with Tua's MRI.

Teddy Bridgewater came in for Tagovailoa when he got injured on Thursday, and is likely to start against the Jets.

Controversy surrounding handling of possible head injury

Tagovailoa's injury happened in Week 4 against the Cincinnati Bengals. During the game, Tua was slammed to the ground. His helmeted head hit the turf hard enough to cause his fingers to lock up, which is a neurological response to brain trauma. He was immediately removed from the game, strapped to a stretcher, and taken to a local Cincinnati hospital in an ambulance for further evaluation.

While that injury took Tagovailoa out of the game, a moment in the previous week's game had started all the controversy and discussion surrounding the handling of head injuries in the NFL. Against the Buffalo Bills in Week 3, Tua was shoved to the ground, and looked unfocused and uncoordinated when he got up. After shaking his head, he stumbled forward a few steps before collapsing to his knees.

It looked like a concussion to a number of viewers and NFL analysts, so it was surprising to see him back out on the field a short time later, having passed the concussion protocol. The Dolphins said that Tua's back had locked up, which is why he stumbled.

That explanation didn't really fly with the NFLPA, which reportedly fired the independent neurologist who had cleared Tagovailoa to play after his Bills injury. The NFL and the NFLPA have had joint discussions about updating the concussion protocols in light of both of Tagovailoa's injuries, and changes could be announced and implemented prior to Week 5.

But things are already changing. Perhaps in anticipation of the new concussion protocols, teams were extra super careful with possible concussions on Sunday. Two quarterbacks (Brian Hoyer and Tyrod Taylor) were both removed from the game due to concussions, as were a number of other players.

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