Dolphins' Tua Tagovailoa to Practice Without Limits After Recovering from Injury

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 29, 2020

FILE - In this Nov. 9, 2019, file photo, Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa passes during an NCAA college football game against LSU in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Tagovailoa is a rarity in the NFL: a left-handed quarterback, something the league hasn't had in several years. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt, File)
Vasha Hunt/Associated Press

Miami Dolphins rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will be at full tilt at training camp after undergoing season-ending hip surgery last year while at the University of Alabama.

Dolphins head coach Brian Flores told reporters Wednesday that Tagovailoa passed his physical and will be able to practice "without limitations."

He added, "When there is practice, you'll see him."

Tagovailoa went fifth overall to the Dolphins in the 2020 NFL draft despite the fact that he suffered a significant hip injury and multiple ankle injuries during his time at Alabama.

He had an action-packed college career that kicked into high gear in the 2017 season when he came off the bench in the national championship game and led Alabama to a come-from-behind win over Georgia.

The following year, he finished second in Heisman Trophy voting as he completed 69 percent of his passes for 3,966 yards, 43 touchdowns and just six interceptions.

He was well on his way to being a Heisman finalist once again last season by completing 71.4 percent of his attempts for 2,840 yards, 33 touchdowns and three interceptions through nine games, but a hip injury that required surgery cut his season short.

Tagovailoa was surpassed by LSU's Joe Burrow in the 2020 NFL draft quarterback rankings, and Burrow went first overall to the Cincinnati Bengals. The Dolphins had their pick of the rest at fifth overall, and they went with Tagovailoa over Oregon's Justin Herbert despite the injury history.

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Early returns on that decision are good since he apparently has no lingering effects and will be 100 percent ready to go for the 2020 season.

The only question is whether Flores will start him from the get-go or begin the season with veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starter.

The latter did some good things in a starting role last season with 3,529 yards, 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He was also Miami's leading rusher with 243 yards and four touchdowns.

Tagovailoa is the long-term answer at quarterback for Miami, but it may be difficult for him to win the starting job out of camp since there will be no preseason games as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

He will likely have a chance to play this season unless the Dolphins are vying for a playoff spot, but the lack of opportunities to prove himself in game situations prior to the start of the regular season may put Fitzpatrick in the driver's seat for now.

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