The NFLPA is still looking into the Miami Dolphins' handling of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa's injury from two weeks ago against the Buffalo Bills, and it appears a conclusion is on the horizon.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports that there is a belief that the Dolphins' explanation that Tagovailoa stumbled to the ground because of a back injury instead of a concussion was unsatisfactory, and he shouldn't have been reinserted into the game.
"The NFL Players Association believes it’s far more simple than that," Florio wrote. "Per a source with knowledge of the union's thinking, even if it was a back injury, Tua shouldn’t have returned to action."
During the game against Buffalo, Tagovailoa was evaluated for a concussion during halftime, and he was cleared by doctors to return. Both he and Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel said after the game that it was a back injury that caused him to stumble. He wasn't placed in the concussion protocol, and he started Thursday night's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Near the end of the first half against Cincinnati, Tagovailoa suffered injuries to his head and neck when he was slammed to the ground while taking a sack. He laid on the field for nearly 10 minutes in a scary scene before being placed on a stretcher and transported to a local hospital. He was examined before being discharged and traveling home with the team.
Tagovailoa was later diagnosed with a concussion, and many criticized the Dolphins for even allowing him to play against the Bengals after his injury against the Bills. According to ESPN's Marcel Louis-Jacques, the independent neurotrauma consultant that cleared the 24-year-old to return to the Buffalo game was fired.
The NFLPA is reportedly planning on interviewing Tagovailoa during the coming week, which should provide more clarity to how the Dolphins handled his injury.
As Florio wrote, "When the NFLPA and the NFL interview Tua this week as part of the ongoing investigation, the union plans, we’re told, to ask Tua a very straightforward and direct question. If you told the doctors you injured your back, what they do to examine your back?"
The Dolphins could be in for some consequences if it's determined they didn't properly protect one of their players.