Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has returned to training for the first time since suffering a concussion at a game in Cincinnati on Sept. 29.
Tagovailoa isn’t expected to play the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, but his return is an encouraging sign, both for him and for a team that lost another passer, backup Teddy Bridgewater, with a concussion in Miami’s 40-17 loss lost to New York Jets (3-2) on Sunday.
Third-string quarterback Skylar Thompson is expected to start against the Vikings.
There is still no timeline for Tagovailoa’s return after weeks of controversy over the team’s handling of his head injuries, the first of which he appeared to suffer in an upset win over the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 25. Tagovailoa was hit by Bill’s linebacker Matt Milano in the first half, banging his head on the turf. Afterward, he appeared disoriented and stumbled trying to get to his feet.
Tagovailoa was immediately taken to the locker room and put through the NFL’s concussion protocol, after which he was cleared of all head injuries. He started the third quarter and was criticized by viewers for allowing him to return to the game, which he eventually won.
Although Tagovailoa was relieved of a concussion at the time and told the media that he had merely aggravated a back injury, the independent doctor who evaluated him and approved his return to play in Miami has since been fired by the NFL Players Association. Both the league and the players’ union (NFLPA) investigated the incident and eventually cleared the Dolphins of any wrongdoing.
dr Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, said Friday that Tagovailoa recovered from a concussion in each of the four days between that incident against the Bills and the Sept. 29 game in Cincinnati. In the latter, Tagovailoa was thrown onto the turf by Bengal’s nose tackle Josh Tupou and was eventually carted off the field after a scary 12 minutes.