Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa (back) planning to play Thursday vs. Bengals

Tua Tagovailoa doesn't have much time to rest his aching back with the Miami Dolphins playing in Cincinnati on Thursday night.

The quarterback said Tuesday he's preparing to play the Bengals despite dealing with a back injury that hampered him in the Dolphins' victory over Buffalo on Sunday.

"That's the plan," he said. "Doing everything I can to get back out there. So, hopefully, I can get out there and play."

Tagovailoa said it's mostly the back injury that's bothered him since Sunday, not the ankle issue that's also on the injury report. The QB was officially listed as limited in the team's practice report estimation Tuesday.

"I've been up here, getting treatment, doing everything I can to get as close to 100% as possible," he said. "That means, after all of this, staying as long as I have to until these guys have to go home."

The signal-caller noted that it was "difficult" to throw the ball in the second half Sunday due to the back injury.

"I would say everything," Tagovailoa said of how the back issue affects his play. "Having to twist to hand the ball off, having to toss a ball, having to throw the ball – every aspect of it."

Tagovailoa left Sunday's win over Buffalo at the end of the first half after taking a hit that caused the quarterback's head to slam against the turf. Tagovailoa stood up and took a few steps before stumbling. He was examined for a possible concussion before being cleared to return. NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported Sunday that the NFL Players Association planned to initiate an investigation into the team's handling of Tagovailoa's concussion evaluation.

Tua said Tuesday he's not dealing with any sort of head injury.

With the Dolphins playing Thursday night, it puts Tagovailoa's availability in question. Coach Mike McDaniel said if it were a normal week, the QB would have been limited Tuesday and probably questionable for the game.

McDaniel noted that trying to prepare both Tua and backup Teddy Bridgewater on a short week makes things difficult.

"It's a tricky scenario," the coach said. "Luckily, it's one of the reasons why we feel so fortunate to have Teddy. But if this were an actual real practice on a normal week, Tua would be limited, and he would be questionable for the game. As far as walkthroughs and stuff and just in general, this much I know about Tua, him and my relationship is strong. Him talking to me, I can tell in his voice he is literally going to do everything that he can and in his power. … I know that he is going to do everything that he can to play. So, I'll know if he doesn't play that, it literally was not possible. And we're just taking measures accordingly for Teddy beyond that. But happy with the way he's so far progressed, and feel very optimistic because of how he's gone about it."

After Tuesday's walkthrough, the Dolphins will evaluate where Tagovailoa is on Wednesday before deciding on his designation for Thursday's game.

McDaniel noted that he hopes to have a definitive decision by Wednesday or early Thursday.

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