Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was healthy enough to play, but not healthy enough to start Thursday’s game against the Ravens with the fracture in the middle finger of his throwing hand.
Tagovailoa entered the game after Jacoby Brissett hurt his knee, completing 8-of-13 passes for 158 yards. That includes a key 64-yard pass to Albert Wilson that set up a 1-yard touchdown just before the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter.
But when head coach Brian Flores was asked about Tagovailoa starting the Dolphins’ Week 11 matchup with the Jets, Flores didn’t want to commit to anything yet — in large part because of Tagovailoa’s health. And Flores batted away the notion that Tagovailoa wasn’t playing due to performance.
“Jacoby was banged up [Thursday]. Same with Tua,” Flores said, via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. “I thought Tua did a good job of fighting through discomfort. We all saw him bang his finger in the game. That’s what we kind of tried to avoid.
“This situation with Tua. I’ve said many times: He’s our quarterback. We try to protect players from themselves to try to avoid that situation with him banging his finger last night. We’ve got to take it day to day with both players and see how that goes.
“But this isn’t like, I think people are trying to turn this into a controversial situation where we don’t want a certain player to play. I try to look out for the best interests of the players individually, the team. All those things play a role in the decisions we make. That was the case last night.”
Just from the FOX broadcast, there were a few instances of individuals questioning why Tagovailoa didn’t start if he was available to play — and then performed as well as he did. Flores has insisted all season that Tagovailoa is Miami’s quarterback, so it stands to reason that he and not Brissett will face New York. But that apparently won’t be official until the Dolphins see him get through next week’s practices healthy.