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NFLPA reviewing Tua Tagovailoa’s quick return from concussion test

Tua Tagovailoa hit his head. Turns out, his back was a major problem.

Either way, he was cleared for a comeback and played it all.

Tagovailoa briefly skipped a 21-19 win over the Buffalo Bills on Monday (AEST), returning despite a deviant from what the team had originally said about a head injury.

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He missed the last three snaps of Miami’s first half, then returned and played the rest of the game as the Dolphins beat the Bills to become the AFC’s last unbeaten team.

Tagovailoa’s return raised some questions.

A person with knowledge of the matter said a joint review would be conducted by the NFL and the National Football League Players Association after the game to determine what was involved in the decision to allow Tagovailoa to return to the game. The man spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because that investigation was not publicly disclosed.

Concussion expert and neuroscientist Chris Nowinsky dubbed the team’s excuse a “bull-tee” on social media.

According to NFL rules, when an in-game evaluation is in doubt not only team medical personnel are involved but also an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant.

“I was kind to everyone. When he hit his head on the ground, I thought it was a head injury,” said Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel.

“But his legs staggered because his lower back was completely loose. And as he described it, he said his lower back was like a gumby or something.

Tagovailoa completed 13 of 18 passes for 186 yards and one touchdown for the Dolphins.

Where his day almost fell into disarray was not when he was hit late by Buffalo’s Matt Milano, he says, but rather on an earlier play where Tagovailoa leaned awkwardly.

“I grabbed my legs under someone and they were trying to push back and it felt like I extended my back or something,” Tagovailoa said.

“Then in the next play, I kind of hit my back, it kind of hurt, and I woke up and so I stumbled. My back locked me.”

Tagovailoa wasn’t the only quarterback during the Bills-Dolphins game.

One played in 90-degree heat that felt even hotter when factoring in 57 percent humidity.

Buffalo’s Josh Allen needed an X-ray on his right arm after the game when he hit it on a helmet or face mask – he wasn’t sure – in the final moments.

After leaving the X-ray room, Allen had no security in hand.

“I’m fine,” he insisted, after a 42-for-63, 400-yard, two-touchdown day.

Tagovailoa was facing a third and third game away from the Miami 21 when he scrambled and found Jaylen Waddle for an eight-yard lead. After releasing the ball, Tagovailoa was hit with a two-handed push to the chest by Milano, who was flagged off to rough up a passer-by.

Tagovailoa fell backwards, the back of his helmet bouncing off the grass. He stayed down for a few seconds, then rolled over to his feet, took a few steps forward, and fell to the ground again for a while.

A pair of offensive linemen grabbed him at the time, making sure he wouldn’t fall again, and Dolphins’ medical personnel rushed to the field to check him further. They took him off the field, straight into the tunnel leading to the Miami locker room.

“I’m fine,” said Tagovailoa.

“They passed whatever concussion protocol they had, so I’m good.”

Tagovailoa was replaced by Teddy Bridgewater for the three plays he missed.

Bridgewater attempted two passes, both unfinished.

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In the first game of the second half, Tagovailoa found Tyrek Hill for a 22-yard lead and showed no ill effect from the hit.

And when the Dolphins got the go-ahead score on a run by Chase Edmonds in the middle of the fourth quarter, Tagovailoa leapt in the air—again, not looking too limited.

He wore a wrap around his back after the game and could face multiple treatments in the days to come.

It’s a short week for Miami, who play in Cincinnati on Friday (AEST).

“You enjoy it now, but it’s a quick turnaround, so you have to move quickly,” Tagovailoa said.

“For me, I’m just worried about getting my back right.”

He also said that he will get some tests done on his back.

“I don’t want to say that I’m a genie and I’m going to feel good tomorrow,” he said.

“We’ll see. We’ll get some tests done and then we’ll be back tomorrow.”

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