The concussion protocol is enacted whenever a player reports concussion-related symptoms, even if he isn’t certain to have a concussion.
There is no set timetable for exiting the protocol, so Tagovailoa could potentially play in Sunday’s pivotal game at New England if he advances through the NFL’s five-step process and is cleared.
Teddy Bridgewater will practice this week with the first team, but McDaniel said it is too early to name a starter for Week 17.
“That’s one of the reasons you go and aggressively pursue a player like Teddy Bridgewater,” McDaniel said.
If Tagovailoa did suffer a concussion, it would be his second this season.
He entered the concussion protocol after taking a scary hit that knocked him unconscious during Miami’s Sept. 29 game at Cincinnati. He was stretchered off the field and returned in Week 7.
Tagovailoa took another hard hit four days before the Cincinnati game during a win over Buffalo. He appeared to show concussion symptoms but was evaluated and stayed in the game. The NFL later changed its concussion protocol to mandate that any player who shows possible concussion symptoms — including a lack of balance or stability — sit out the remainder of a game.
The injury comes at a challenging time for Miami (8-7), which has lost four straight to fall to the bottom of the AFC playoff field.