Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel ruled out quarterback Tua Tagovailoa on Monday for the team's Week 5 game against the New York Jets due to the concussion that Tagovailoa suffered on Sept. 29 against the Cincinnati Bengals.
"This is something that is too early to give a definitely timeline," McDaniel told reporters, per Pro Football Network. "I can comfortably say he will be out for this game."
McDaniel would not commit to placing Tagovailoa on injured reserve -- a move that would sideline the third-year QB for a minimum of four weeks.
"He's had a couple of good days," McDaniel said. "He's just trying to go through with the proper procedure and protocol."
McDaniel said the decision on when Tagovailoa will play again will be made in accordance with league rules.
"It's a collection of people advising," McDaniel said. "That's something we'll always hold ourselves accountable to."
NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported on Saturday that the league and the NFL Players Association had agreed to parameters of an updated concussion protocol that will rule out players who exhibit gross motor instability as Tagovailoa did during the Dolphins' Week 3 game against the Bills, regardless of any possible contributing factors.
Currently, the league's concussion protocol states that gross motor instability means a player cannot return to the game if the "team physician, in consultation with the sideline UNC (unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant), determines the instability to be neurologically caused." The agreed-to parameters for the update are expected to eliminate that loophole and prevent players from returning to action as Tagovailoa did against the Bills.
Tagovailoa briefly exited the Sept. 25 game against Buffalo in the first half with what the team initially announced as a head injury he sustained following a hit from linebacker Matt Milano, who was flagged for roughing the passer on the play. Once getting up on his feet, Tagovailoa shook his head and stumbled as he began to trot forward before getting taken out of the game. Tagovailoa later returned to play following halftime.
Following the Dolphins' 21-19 win, McDaniel told reporters after the game that Tagovailoa suffered a lower-back injury in the first half, which was exacerbated by the hit from Milano, and was the cause of Tagovailoa's stumble.
The NFLPA initiated an investigation into the handling of Tagovailoa's concussion evaluation following the Dolphins' Week 3 win.
Tagovailoa was listed as questionable with back and ankle injuries leading up to last Thursday's game against Cincinnati. Tagovailoa was sacked by Bengals defensive tackle Josh Tupou and seemingly hit his head on the turf after getting slung to the ground during the first half of the Week 4 contest. Tagovailoa remained on the turf for several minutes as trainers attended to him before being taken off the field on a stretcher and then by ambulance to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center to be treated for head and neck injuries.
On Saturday, the NFLPA terminated the UNC involved in Tagovailoa's concussion check during the Week 3 game against Buffalo.
"I can't speak on what the league and the union decide to do with that particular specialist," McDaniel said. "In terms of the new adjusted rule, moving forward, if it's safer for one extra player, then I'm all for it."
McDaniel added that he is "very, very confident" in the team's medical staff and that they're "very happy to comply" with the union's investigation.