Tagovailoa was placed into protocol last week after sustaining his second documented concussion of the season in the Dolphins’ loss to the Green Bay Packers on Dec. 25. Teddy Bridgewater started in his place during Sunday’s 23-21 loss to the New England Patriots but was forced to leave the game early after sustaining an injury to the pinkie finger on his right hand.
Rookie seventh-round pick Skylar Thompson finished the game at quarterback, and McDaniel said he’s preparing for either Thompson or Bridgewater to start Sunday’s pivotal game against the New York Jets.
“I haven’t even thought about [Tagovailoa’s] playing status. It’s about him getting healthy each and every day,” McDaniel said. “And so I can’t really even factor him into any sort of equation until we’re ready to broach that. It’s just really a situation of, at this point in the week — Monday and Tuesday game prep — I’ll be preparing for both Skylar and Teddy, and then proceed as the week progresses.”
McDaniel said last week that medical professionals advised him “it’s critical that Tua worries only about the day that he’s currently in and nothing else,” and that he has adhered to that advice.
He told reporters Monday that not only is there no established timeline for Tagovailoa’s return, but he hasn’t even begun to discuss one with the third-year quarterback.
“Specifically as mandated, I haven’t had a discussion with Tua about when he’s playing,” he said. “Because again, the picture was painted very … from his head coach to the player, no timeline has been discussed with intent.
“It is a day-to-day process really that, that is most important that we adhere to. And that’s just getting him better each and every day and getting him healthy as a person. So I don’t really have a timeline, unfortunately.”
McDaniel added that Tagovailoa told him he feels “good” when they spoke and that he has felt “compelled” to remind Tagovailoa that football is not the most prevalent concern at hand when they speak.
McDaniel said Bridgewater injured his right pinkie finger while trying to make a tackle after throwing an interception against the Patriots. He said the finger was dislocated but doesn’t believe it’s broken; the Dolphins will know more once the swelling has gone down. In an ideal world, he said, he will know by Wednesday who the team’s starter will be in a game the Dolphins need to win in order to make the playoffs.
Miami also has discussed adding short-term depth at the quarterback position.
The Dolphins entered the month of December with an 8-3 record but have since lost five straight games. Their loss to New England on Sunday knocked them out of the playoff field, and they’ll need to beat the Jets and for the Patriots to lose to the Buffalo Bills this week in order to snap a five-year playoff drought.