When Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa gets to Indianapolis next week for the Scouting Combine, his surgically repaired right hip will get plenty of attention.
But he also had to have a pair of ankle surgeries while in college, and the doctor who performed them disputed the notion than Tagovailoa might be injury prone.
“I understand where it comes from,” Dr. Norman Waldrop told Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald. “But he’s had some pretty significant injuries that don’t have anything more to do with him than the particular nature of the plays that occurred. While I certainly get everyone’s worries from the medical side, I have zero concerns because of his willingness to work.
“He’s passed every test with bells and whistles.”
Waldrop performed the two “tightrope” procedures to repair a pair of high ankle sprains, as Tagovailoa only missed one game because of the injuries. The procedure involves tying together a pair of metal brackets with a synthetic cord, which stabilizes the tibia and fibula.
Waldrop didn’t work on Tagovailoa’s hip, but he spoke to him recently and said he was recovering well.
“He’s doing great,” Waldrop said. “I have no reason to think that he’s not going to have anything but an exceptional recovery [from his hip injury]. I think Tua is an exceptional person first, an exceptionally hard worker second. Football ability is only a part of what makes him a transcendent athlete and I’m pretty excited to see how that translates to the NFL. He can throw a football through a thimble. He’s more than just an incredible quarterback. He’s a great person.
“He’s never let any of his injuries set him back. I don’t have any reason to think that he will have any setbacks going forward.”
Of course, most doctors wouldn’t cast doubt on their own handiwork, or any of their own patients. But the extreme battery of tests the Alabama quarterback is about to endure will offer a deeper look at his status.