Tua Tagovailoa Hip Injury Could Be Issue at 35, Not 25, Says NFL Doctor

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 20, 2020

FILE - In this Feb. 27, 2020, file photo, Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa watches a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis. In 54 years of drafting, the Miami Dolphins have taken four quarterbacks in the first round, and two are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)
Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

While Tua Tagovailoa may eventually suffer effects from his dislocated hip, it's unlikely to happen until late in his career.

An NFL team doctor spoke to Peter King of NBC Sports and said he does not see immediate trouble regarding the Alabama quarterback's hip.

"These contact injuries are part of the game," the doctor said. "You ask yourself, 'Is this guy injury-prone, or does he have a bulls-eye on him because he's a crucial player on his team?' I've seen a few of the hip dislocations in football, and my experience is that if you lose blood supply to the hip for a long enough period of time, you're in trouble. I don't think that was the case here. As I see it, the effects of the dislocation might show up when he's 35, but not when he's 25."

Tagovailoa suffered a dislocated hip with a posterior wall fracture (along with a broken nose and concussion) in a November win over Mississippi State. The injury prematurely ended his collegiate career and played a part in Alabama missing the College Football Playoff for the first time since its inception.

Tagovailoa's draft status heading into Thursday night remains murky. With the coronavirus pandemic making it impossible for him to work out or have team doctors give him their own examinations, any team that selects him will be taking a calculated risk.

An injury-free Tagovailoa may have been competing with Joe Burrow for the No. 1 pick in this class; this version could go as high as No. 3 in a trade-up scenario or free-fall his way out of the Top 10 if the board breaks a certain way.

Michael Lombardi of The Athletic recently revealed:

"That's got to get around, that at least one team failed the physical on Tua," Lombardi said on The GM Shuffle podcast. "Others have to be concerned now as well. … It's not just his hip. … I mean, he's brittle. You can't deny it. … Look, I'm not disputing the evaluation. I'm saying that they flunked him on not just the hip [but] on the multitude of injuries. The risk far outweighs the reward."

Tagovailoa previously had surgery on both ankles and suffered a broken wrist twice. Add that to the hip problem, and his injury history is a serious concern for teams drafting at the top.