Dolphins Analysis Football

Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is carted off the field after getting injured in a play against the Buffalo Bills. The team announced Wednesday that Tagovailoa has fractured ribs and will not play Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders. David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Tua Tagovailoa has fractured ribs and will not play Sunday when the Miami Dolphins visit the Las Vegas Raiders.

The Dolphins announced the updated diagnosis Wednesday, after initial tests suggested Tagovailoa was dealing with bruised ribs. Further exams showed the fractures, and the Dolphins already have decided that Jacoby Brissett will start this weekend.

It’s unclear how long Tagovailoa will be sidelined. Dolphins coach Brian Flores did not want to offer a timetable for a potential return but said Tagovailoa is already improving.

Tagovailoa was injured on the second series of Miami’s 35-0 loss to Buffalo last weekend. He took a hit on a fourth-down play from the Bills’ A.J. Epenesa, then slowly made his way to the sideline where a cart was waiting to take him off the field.

Tagovailoa completed 17 of 22 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown when the Dolphins went to Las Vegas and beat the Raiders 26-25 last season.

Brissett completed 24 of 40 passes for 169 yards and an interception after entering the game as Tagovailoa’s replacement last week. He was sacked four times, part of a six-sack-yielded day by the Dolphins’ offensive line — a figure that doesn’t even count the play where Tagovailoa got hurt.

GIANTS: Starting left guard Shane Lemieux had surgery on his left knee and is expected to miss the rest of the regular season.

Lemieux, who hurt the knee early in training camp, had surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York to repair his patellar tendon, the Giants said.

Lemieux started the season opener against Denver and played 18 plays before being replaced by Ben Bredeson. He was inactive for the game against Washington on Sept. 16.

The injury is the second major one for the line. Nick Gates, who moved from center to left guard for the second game, broke his left leg in the game and will not play again this season.

BEARS: Chicago will go with the prized rookie Justin Fields is at quarterback when the Bears visit the Cleveland Browns this week with veteran Andy Dalton sidelined because of a left knee injury, Coach Matt Nagy said Wednesday.

Nagy said Dalton remains the team’s No. 1 quarterback for now and the plan is for him to be the starter when he is healthy. Nagy said the three-time Pro Bowler is week to week, though the Bears don’t think he will be placed on injured reserve. Super Bowl 52 MVP Nick Foles will be the backup quarterback.

Fields, the No. 11 pick in the draft, took over on Chicago’s final drive in the first half of Sunday’s 20-17 win over Cincinnati after getting in a handful of plays earlier in the game, and he led the Bears the rest of the way.

Dalton was injured on a 14-yard run early in the second quarter. Fields took the final three snaps of that possession. Dalton was in for the next drive, before Fields led Chicago’s final one of the half.

Fields showed some promise in his first extended look as a pro. But by his own admission, it wasn’t a great outing. He completed just 6 of 13 passes for 60 yards and threw an interception late in the game that led to a touchdown. He also ran for 31 yards.

BUCCANEERS: Tampa Bay placed receiver Antonio Brown on the reserve/COVID-19 list, meaning he could miss Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Rams. As a vaccinated player, Brown would have to have two negative tests for COVID-19 at least 24 hours apart.

Linebacker Kevin Minter, the Bucs’ special teams captain, and practice squad receiver Travis Jonsen tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, the club announced.

Brown led the Bucs with 121 yards receiving, including a 47-yard touchdown, in the 31-29 win over the Dallas Cowboys to kick off the NFL season two weeks ago. In Sunday’s 48-25 win over the Falcons, Brown was limited to only one reception for 17 yards in the second quarter.

BROWNS: Coach Kevin Stefanski did not rule out Odell Beckham Jr. for Sunday’s game against Chicago, clearing the way for the star wide receiver to make his season debut and play for the first time since undergoing knee surgery last year.

“We’ll see how he progresses this week, but I expect him to be full go today at practice,” Stefanski said before the Browns worked out in their indoor field house because of heavy rain. Last week, Stefanski slammed shut any speculation about Beckham’s status by saying he would not play against Houston days before the home opener.

Beckham had been in line to play Week 1 at Kansas City, but was ruled inactive following pregame warmups after telling the team he wasn’t prepared to handle the workload they had in store for him.

COLTS: Coach Frank Reich still doesn’t know who will start at quarterback against Tennessee. Carson Wentz has two sprained ankles and missed Wednesday’s practice and the Colts have only two other healthy quarterbacks on the roster – Jacob Eason and Brett Hundley.

So Reich is preparing for Sunday’s key division game with Eason taking first-team snaps. Wentz is hopeful he can recover quickly enough to give it a shot.

“Still sore, both of them and working through it,” Wentz said after walking without a boot to a microphone. “Honestly, a lot of unknown. See how my body responds and doing everything we can. Each day, shoot, each couple of hours it’s gotten better. So, we’ll see how it continue to progress.”

Wentz hurt his right ankle when he got twisted around in a pile midway through the fourth quarter of last week’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams and said he was fortunate it wasn’t broken. The left ankle, Wentz believes, was injured during the third quarter. He spent the previous two days studying film, getting treatment and resting.

While it sounds as if Wentz may not practice Thursday, Reich declined to rule him out even though his general rule is a player must practice at least Friday to play — though he has made exceptions.

HALL OF FAME NOMINEES: Ten first-year eligible players, including defensive standouts DeMarcus Ware and Robert Mathis, and receivers Andre Johnson, Steve Smith and Anquan Boldin are among 122 nominees for the 2022 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Other first-year eligibles are kick returner Devin Hester; offensive linemen Jake Long and Nick Mangold; defensive lineman Vince Wilfork and defensive back Antonio Cromartie.

The list will be reduced to 25 semifinalists in November and to 15 finalists in January before the selection committee discusses and chooses the class of 2022 that will be enshrined in August. The roster of nominees consists of 65 offensive players, 46 defensive players and 11 special teamers.

JAGUARS: Jacksonville signed cornerback Nevin Lawson to a one-year contract Wednesday, giving them an experienced veteran in case CJ Henderson can’t play against Arizona.

The team placed tight end James O’Shaughnessy (ankle) on injured reserve to make room for Lawson.

Henderson is dealing with a groin injury, and coach Urban Meyer called him questionable for Sunday’s game against the Cardinals (2-0). Veteran Tre Herndon is still recovering from a knee injury that sidelined him the first two games for the Jaguars (0-2).

BRONCOS: Coach Vic Fangio expects Pro Bowl pass rusher Bradley Chubb to return by November after undergoing surgery to remove bone spurs from his left ankle.

Chubb went on IR a day after inside linebacker Josey Jewell did. Jewell will undergo surgery Thursday after tearing a chest muscle playing on special teams in the Broncos’ win at Jacksonville last weekend.

COWBOYS: The Dallas Cowboys placed linebacker Keanu Neal on the COVID-19 reserve list, making it possible the club will be without a key player for the third consecutive game to start the season because of health and safety protocols.

The Cowboys (1-1) said on their website it’s uncertain whether Neal would be cleared in time for the home opener Monday night against Philadelphia (1-1). The converted safety started the season opener and has played more than 70% of the snaps in the first two games.

Dallas was without a starter for each of the first two games because of positive COVID-19 tests. Four-time All-Pro right guard Zack Martin missed the 31-29 loss to defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay in the opener. Defensive end Randy Gregory sat last week’s 20-17 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers.


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