It’s not exactly great injury news but, in the grand scheme of things, it could’ve been a lot worse.
Late in the first half of Alabama’s win over rival Tennessee, starting quarterback and Heisman front-runner Tua Tagovailoa went down with an apparent ankle injury. After spending time in the sideline medical tent, Tagovailoa went into the locker room for further observation.
Not long after that, Tagovailoa was seen exiting the stadium and getting into the back of an ambulance; he would ultimately return to the sidelines but not the game as Mac Jones finished out the win.
Immediately following the game, Nick Saban stated that Tagovailoa suffered a high-ankle sprain, a similar injury he worked through a season ago, and will “probably be out a week or two.” In the postgame press conference, the head coach all but ruled the junior out for next weekend’s home game against Arkansas.
Following next Saturday’s game, top-ranked Alabama will be on a bye in Week 10 before its huge showdown with No. 2 LSU in Tuscaloosa Nov. 9. According to the current timeline provided by Saban, Tagovailoa should be healthy and available for the Tigers.
Additional testing, including an MRI, will be performed Sunday morning, so the timeline for a return is certainly fluid and will be the main topic of watercooler conversation in the coming days. At the moment, though, the player and his teammates are optimistic for a return sooner rather than later.
“He said, ‘I’ll be back for LSU,’” linebacker Terrell Lewis said in the postgame aftermath. “I know how Tua is. It’s something he’s been through before, so I don’t doubt the fact that he’s a competitor. He’s going to get right back, and he’ll be fine.”
In Saturday night’s game, and prior to the injury, Tagovailoa failed to throw a touchdown pass for the only time as the Crimson Tide’s starter and for the first time overall since Oct. 14 of 2017. He also threw his second interception on the season.
In replacing Tagovailoa, the redshirt sophomore Jones completed six of his 11 passes for 72 yards and had neither a touchdown nor an interception.