Tagovailoa is dealing with back and ankle soreness, Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel told reporters Monday, but it isn't out of the norm of bumps and bruises that are typical following a physical four quarters of football. Still, the Dolphins are keeping a close eye on their quarterback as they embark on a short week of preparation before Thursday night's game against the defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals.
"I don't assume anything, but it wasn't out of the extreme norm of bumps and bruises after a game," McDaniel told reporters, via Pro Football Network's Adam Beasley. "As far as me being able to access my crystal ball, it's broke right now."
Tagovailoa exited Sunday's 21-19 win over Buffalo after taking a hard fall that saw the quarterback's head slam against the turf at Hard Rock Stadium. Tagovailoa stood up and took a few steps before stumbling. He then exited the game and was examined for a possible concussion.
The Dolphins QB cleared concussion protocol, however, and returned to play, leading Miami to a thrilling win over its AFC East rival.
Tagovailoa said after the game his back "locked up" on him, causing him to stumble on the field. "For the most part," he said, "I'm good."
The NFLPA is conducting an inquiry into the handling of Tagovailoa during his exit for examination for a possible concussion. McDaniel said on Monday that he supported the investigation, expressing an understanding for why most everyone was so concerned about Tagovailoa's condition prior to his return to the game.
"I think this is the exact reason there are protocols in place," McDaniel said. "I was with a lot of people, I think. When you saw it, you assumed one thing."
McDaniel said Tagovailoa insisted the issue was with his back, not his head, leading to his re-entry into Sunday's contest.
"You could see from the onset, he was not happy with the idea of not leading his team to trying to get this win," McDaniel said. "His teammates saw a version that we haven't been able to see."
The Dolphins will hope to have Tagovailoa for Thursday night's game in a season that hasn't offered any breaks for Miami, which has recorded wins over New England, Baltimore and Buffalo to start the season.
The going doesn't get any easier this week when the Dolphins hit the road for the second time in this still-young season for a date with Joe Burrow and the Bengals.