Miami Dolphins Head Coach Mike McDaniel announced that quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will not play in the team’s Week 6 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings. Tagovailoa has not appeared in uniform for the Dolphins since suffering a severe head injury in Week 4 against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Last week, McDaniel expressed optimism about his quarterback’s condition, claiming that he was working his way through concussion protocol and could appear as early as Week 6. At a press conference Wednesday, however, the head coach said that Tagovailoa was returning to light activity but that an early return to the field was not possible.

“Now, when talking about this week and playing, I don’t see a scenario – I don’t see him being active. I do not plan to have him play at all,” McDaniel said.

The Dolphins organization is handling Tagovailoa’s recovery cautiously after the NFL and NFLPA released an investigatory report concerning the manner in which Miami’s trainers handled his initial injury. In a Week 3 matchup against the Buffalo Bills, Tagovailoa was visibly stumbling on the field after hitting his head on the turf in the first half.

The NFL and NFLPA’s investigation, launched after his second injury and released on Oct. 8, found that the quarterback cleared concussion protocol in the locker room in Week 3, blaming a back injury for his lack of coordination on the field. He re-entered the game against the Bills after halftime and started four days later against the Bengals, when he suffered a more serious head injury.

In an interview with Science News, Kristen Dams-O’Connor, a neuropsychologist and director of the Brain Injury Research Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, confirmed the likelihood of subsequent brain injuries for people in recovery.

“The science tells us that yes, a person who is still recovering from a concussion is at an elevated risk for sustaining another concussion,” Dams-O’Connor said.

Though there is no timetable for Tagovailoa’s return, McDaniel again maintained a positive outlook, claiming that Week 7 was a possibility. In the meantime, the Dolphins plan to start third-string quarterback Skylar Thompson, an undrafted rookie filling in for Teddy Bridgewater, who sustained an injury of his own against the New York Jets last weekend.

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