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Tua to be released from hospital, enters concussion protocol after TNF

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Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is expected to be discharged from the hospital and fly home with the Miami Dolphins on Thursday night, the club announced.

Tagovailoa was stretchered off the field in the second quarter of Thursday's 27-15 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals with head and neck injuries. The signal-caller was taken to a local hospital for further evaluation. He was conscious and had movement in all his extremities.

Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel said postgame that Tagovailoa has entered the concussion protocol, according to Henry McKenna of Fox Sports.

The quarterback will undergo an MRI after initial tests showed no structural damage, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.

Tagovailoa's head appeared to hit the turf after he took a sack from Bengals defensive lineman Josh Tupou.

He also battled back and ankle ailments this week and had been listed as questionable for Week 4.

Tagovailoa briefly left Sunday's win over the Buffalo Bills to be checked for a concussion after taking a big hit late in the second quarter and stumbling after he got to his feet. He returned to the contest following halftime. McDaniel said postgame Sunday that Tagovailoa's back injury caused him to stumble.

Tagovailoa's quick return was controversial and caused the NFL Players Association to initiate an investigation into Miami's handling of the situation. The NFL said Wednesday that there's no indication the Dolphins violated concussion protocol.

The players' union addressed Tagovailoa's injury in a statement Thursday night.

"Player health and safety is at the core of the union's mission," the statement reads. "Our concern tonight is for Tua, and we hope for a full and speedy recovery. Our investigation into the potential protocol violation is ongoing."

McDaniel said Thursday night that Tagovailoa certainly didn't suffer a concussion in Week 3 against the Bills.

"Otherwise we would have reported him having a head injury," McDaniel said. "Every single NFL game that is played, there's an independent specialist that specializes in the specialty of brain matter. For me, as long as I'm coaching here, I'm not going to fudge that whole situation. If there's any sort of inclination that someone has a concussion, they go into the concussion protocol, and it's very strict. ... We don't mess with that."

McDaniel added he'd never put a player in harm's way.

"That's not what I'm about at all," he said. "No outcome of the game would ever influence me being irresponsible as the head coach of the football team."

Teddy Bridgewater took over at quarterback for Miami versus Cincinnati with the Dolphins trailing 7-6.

Several players around the NFL showed love to Tagovailoa on social media after his injury, including fellow quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson.

Tagovailoa entered Thursday with 925 passing yards and eight touchdowns against two interceptions through the first three games of the season. Miami suffered its first loss of the year in Week 4 after starting the campaign 3-0.

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