Tua Tagovailoa had to be carted off the field after suffering a serious hip injury against Mississippi, and early indications are looking very bad for the quarterback projected at the top of the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Alabama quarterback was hurt after being taken down hard to the turf during his team’s 38-7 win, with CBS Sports reporting that he was “screaming in pain” as he was taken off the cart in the locker room. Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban had little details after the game other than to say it looked serious.”It’s a hip injury and probably something that could be pretty serious,” Saban said.
After the game, Tagovailoa was taken by ambulance to a local hospital before being flown by helicopter to St. Vincent Medical Center in Birmingham. While the full extent of the injury is not yet known, there are several indications that it could put his career at risk. ESPN’s Jim Nagy reported on Twitter that the injury is believed to be similar to the career-ending hip injury that Bo Jackson suffered, adding that Tagovailoa was already slated for surgery on Sunday.
Bleacher Report noted on Twitter that he had already been ruled out for the season, more than likely ending his college football career as he was expected to enter the NFL Draft at the end of the season.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 16, 2019
Tua Tagovailoa was airlifted to St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Birmingham. Nick Saban called it a hip injury that was possibly “serious” in on-field interview at halftime. Source says there was concern before end of game it was a “very serious” injury. MRI and scans next.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 16, 2019
There was some immediate criticism on Saban for leaving Tua in the game after it had been out of reach and when the Crimson Tide quarterback had been nursing an ankle injury. But former Alabama star Barrett Jones stuck up for his former coach on Twitter, noting that there was no indication that the hip injury he suffered on Saturday was in any way connected to the ankle.
“Lots of second guessing out there on whether Tua should have played/still been in game. Reality: He clearly looked healthy enough to play, and had a freak injury on a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT body part. Saban plays guys who are healthy enough to play, no matter the opponent, period.”
Tagovailoa had shown little effect of the ankle injury during Saturday’s game, completing 14 of 18 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns. Saban said that Tagovailoa was set to leave the game with Alabama leading 35-7 after scoring touchdowns on each of the first five drives, but he never made it to that point.
More about Tagovailoa’s condition and long-term prognosis is expected to be known after he undergoes surgery on Sunday.