Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa out for Raiders game with fractured ribs

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Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores said Wednesday that quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is out for Sunday’s game at Las Vegas because of fractured ribs.

“He’s a tough kid; he wants to play, he’s trying to play,” Flores said. “We’re going to be safe this week. Rest always helps. We’re going to take one day at a time.

“He’s in a lot of pain. We got some initial diagnosis and decided to run some more tests and ran them and got some information. It’s unfortunate but not something we think - I don’t want to put a timetable on it. He’s better but still dealing with some pain.”

Jacoby Brissett will be the starter and Reid Sinnett the backup on Sunday in Las Vegas.

Though Flores said Tagovailoa wants to play, the team does not believe that’s wise from a health standpoint this week. Flores declined to offer a potential timetable for his return or say whether the team would place him on injured reserve, which would sideline him at least three games.

“This is not something we’re thinking about right now, but we’ll see how this trends over the course of the week,” Flores said of the injured reserve option.

According to prominent sports medical doctor David Chao - who does media work - Tagovailoa is likely to miss multiple weeks. If he misses three games, he would sit out games against the Raiders, Colts and Tampa Bay but could be back against Jaguars in London on Oct. 17.

Chao said Tagovailoa would be at risk of a punctured lung if he returns too soon from the injury.

NFL Network had consistently and incorrectly reported all week that Tagovailoa had only bruised ribs, not fractured ribs.

Flores said Brissett having practice reps will be helpful; he didn’t receive many last week, which is typical for a backup quarterback.

“Practice reps always help,” Flores said. “Timing, chemistry with offensive line, backs and receivers, that always helps. Get that timing, get those reps, get some execution, some of those guys in practice hopefully carries over to the game. Guys have confidence in Jacoby and the ability to lead the offense.”

Flores said he doesn’t believe the offense needs to be changed with Brissett replacing Tagovailoa.

How does Brissett’s skill set lend itself to the offense?

“Right-handed vs left-handed is one obvious situation,” Flores said. “Ball comes out a little differently one guy compared to the other. All the receivers, tight ends, backs have caught passes from all the quarterbacks - Reid as well.

“As far as skill set, I don’t think much changes to be honest. We will move forward and prepare a game plan that puts us in position to have some success.”

Flores said “we will use today, tomorrow, Friday to build some of that chemistry in the pass game, run game, work with the centers.”

Flores said Brissett “has played a lot of football in his career, prepares the right way, puts himself in position to play as a backup, play in a starting role. He’s preparing the same way he prepares every week.”

How is Tagovailoa doing emotionally?

“He’s in good spirits,” Flores said. “He’s a tough kid, doing everything he can to be out there as soon as he can. He wants to be out there. This is the right thing for him from a health standpoint. He wants to be out there but we have to protect him.”

Brian Flores said of any offensive line changes, “we’ll see what that looks like in practice and make a decision.”

The Dolphins, as reported Tuesday, will enter the week with Liam Eichenberg as a new starter and Solomon Kindley coming off the bench, according to multiple sources. That’s the plan, unless those players do something to change the Dolphins’ mind in practice this week, which is always possible, or if Jesse Davis’ troublesome knee regresses.

Also, receiver Will Fuller is practicing Wednesday; he returned to the team on Monday after missing five days due to personal reasons.

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