The questions will come, as they have already: what the hell was Tua Tagovailoa still doing in the game?
Up on Mississippi State 35-7 late in the first half, Tagovailoa, once again a game-time decision heading into Week 12, appeared to successfully lobby the Alabama coaching staff to remain in the game. Not long after, everyone’s worst fears were realized as the junior quarterback was injured at the end of a scramble and, after not being able to put any weight whatsoever on his right leg, was carted off the field and into the locker room for further evaluation.
While it was originally thought that Tagovailoa had reinjured his surgically-repaired ankle, ESPN‘s sideline reporter, Molly McGrath, stated during the broadcast that it’s a hip injury. Per McGrath, Tagovailoa was “screaming in pain” while being attended to on the field by the UA training staff.
As he headed into the halftime locker room, head coach Nick Saban confirmed that it’s a hip issue for Tagovailoa, the extent of which isn’t yet known. The coach also confirmed that the staff wanted Tagovailoa out there to practice the two-minute drill and pushed back against the narrative that the player had lobbied to remain the game.
There is also speculation that Tagovailoa may have broken his nose on the play, although that has yet to be confirmed.
At the time of his injury, Tagovailoa was 14-18 for 256 yards and two touchdowns. He will be replaced in the second half by redshirt sophomore Mac Jones.
Tagovailoa suffered a high-ankle sprain in Alabama’s win over Tennessee last month that led to surgery and sidelined the quarterback for the blowout of Arkansas. A game-time decision in the days leading up to LSU, Tagovailoa started and went the distance in the Crimson Tide’s loss to the Tigers. Monday after the loss, Saban stated that the junior didn’t injure himself further even as there was a noticeable limp during the game that was even more pronounced after it.
Throughout the week leading up to today’s game, Tagovailoa had been either a non-participant or very limited because of the ankle.