Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa doesn't appear to be in line to return from concussion protocol for the team's wild-card game against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel told reporters that Tagovailoa has not been cleared for any football activities. He added that the team is hoping to gain more clarity on Wednesday.
It was just a week ago that Pro Football Network's Adam H. Beasley noted that McDaniel indicated Tagovailoa might not play again this season, saying there's "no such thing as a timeline."
The 24-year-old was placed in concussion protocol for the second time this season following Miami's Week 16 loss to the Green Bay Packers, forcing him to miss the following game against the New England Patriots. Without their star quarterback in the lineup, the Dolphins fell to the Patriots to extend their losing streak to five games, but they managed to beat the New York Jets 11-6 in the regular-season finale.
Tagovailoa's health has been a major storyline in a once-promising season for Miami. He was briefly hospitalized after his head hit the turf in Week 4 against the Cincinnati Bengals, which led to his first stint in the concussion protocol. Just four days prior to that game, he exhibited concussion symptoms against the Bills but continued playing after being evaluated.
After Tagovailoa was placed in concussion protocol for the second time, The Athletic's Mike Jones reported that the NFL Players' Association was "looking into the handling" of the third-year quarterback by the Dolphins.
While Tagovailoa is out, Miami would usually rely on veteran backup Teddy Bridgewater. However, the 30-year-old exited the loss against the Patriots early with a finger injury and sat out against the Jets, putting his status in question.
If Bridgewater is unable to go once again, the Dolphins will have to rely on 2022 seventh-round pick Skylar Thompson. The rookie signal-caller has appeared in seven games this year, recording 534 passing yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.