Alabama star (and projected top draft pick) Tua Tagovailoa was carted off the field during the second quarter of today’s game against Mississippi State. Some are calling it a hip injury, with ESPN’s Molly McGrath saying that the quarterback was “screaming in pain” (via ESPN’s Field Yates on Twitter). Tagovailoa also appeared to have suffered a bloody nose.
The 2018 Heisman runner-up is no stranger to injuries, as he underwent surgery to repair a high ankle sprain in late October. He returned to the field three weeks later, throwing four touchdowns in a loss to LSU. There were questions if Tagovailoa would even play today’s game, as the quarterback was still suffering from ankle pain.
As Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com points out, this will lead to questions about why head coach Nick Saban kept the signal-caller in the game. Alabama was leading Mississippi State 35-7 at the time of the injury, with Tagovailoa having completed 14 of his 18 pass attempts for 256 yards and two touchdowns. For what it’s worth, Saban noted that it wasn’t an ankle injury that knocked his star quarterback out of today’s game.
“He hurt his hip. I don’t know anything more than that,” Saban told ESPN at halftime (via Ben Kercheval of CBS Sports). “That was going to be his last series. We were going to do 2-minute before the half with him, just for practice.”
Considering Tagovailoa’s draft stock can’t be much higher, there will also be talk about whether the quarterback has played his final game for Alabama. As David Smith points out, a major injury could cause Tagovailoa to fall in the draft, potentially costing the quarterback millions of dollars. Even if today’s injury proves to not be serious, it might be enough to convince Tagovailoa’s camp to call it a season.
In his most recent mock draft, Sport Illustrated’s Kevin Hanson had Tagovailoa going fourth to the Dolphins. In fact, the pundit didn’t have the Alabama product as the first quarterback off the board; that honor belonged to LSU’s Joe Burrow, who Hanson projects to go first overall to the Bengals. If Tagovailoa’s injury does prove to be serious, that could vicariously boost the draft stock of Oregon’s Justin Herbert or Utah State’s Jordan Love, a pair of quarterbacks who are projected to go in the second-half of the first round.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.