Dolphins' Mike McDaniel reiterates Tua Tagovailoa had no prior head injury, calls incidents ‘unrelated issues’

The Dolphins have received backlash for handling of injuries this week

The Miami Dolphins have received lots of backlash since quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered head and neck injuries Thursday in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Many observers suggest Thursday's injuries were related to Sunday's hit in a game against the Buffalo Bills that led to the QB wobbling to the turf.

Head coach Mike McDaniel defended his handling of the injuries after the game.

On Friday, he was confident that Sunday's and Thursday's incidents were "unrelated events" in an emotional meeting with the media.

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Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is examined during the first half of the team's game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday in Cincinnati.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is examined during the first half of the team's game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

"I get the optics. I get exactly what it looks like …," McDaniel told reporters Friday, via the Miami Herald. "[But] I can exude with 100 percent conviction that every person in this building had 100 percent the correct process."

McDaniel again said Tagovailoa did not suffer a head injury on Sunday.

"The whole process of what happens in the Bills game is he was evaluated for the head injury immediately," McDaniel said. "That’s what we brought him inside for and cleared by several layers of medical professionals. I don’t pretend to be one. The collection of them cleared him of any head injury whatsoever. He had a back and ankle issue. In terms of deciding whether or not to play a guy on a Thursday night game, I’m concerned about his lower back and ankle and putting it in harm’s way. I have 100% conviction in our process…

Medical staffers tend to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa of the Miami Dolphins after an injury during the second quarter of a game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati on Thursday.

Medical staffers tend to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa of the Miami Dolphins after an injury during the second quarter of a game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati on Thursday. (Andy Lyons/Getty Image)

"There were absolutely no signs [of a head injury after the Buffalo game]. He had no head injury symptoms whatsoever."

McDaniel said Thursday that if Tagovailoa had suffered a head injury, the team would have reported it as such. The team reported a back injury. Tagovailoa said he hyperextended his back and fell to the turf. 

DOLPHINS' TUA TAGOVAILOA EXPECTED TO BE DISCHARGED FROM HOSPITAL, TRAVEL BACK TO MIAMI AFTER SCARY INJURY

The NFLPA is investigating the handling of Sunday's injury. Earlier this week, it said there was "every indication" the team properly followed concussion protocol.

"If there would have been anything lingering with his head, of course I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if I prematurely put someone out there in harm’s way," McDaniel said Friday. "This is a relationship I have with this human being. I take that seriously."

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is taken off the field on a stretcher during the first half of a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday in Cincinnati.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is taken off the field on a stretcher during the first half of a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Joshua A. Bickel)

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McDaniel said there is no timetable for Tagovailoa's return.

"I’m not thinking about timetables about Tua the player. I’m thinking about Tua the person. He’s someone I’ve grown very, very close to. I’m worried about him getting healthy and getting all the testing done he needs to get done," he said.

Tagovailoa flew home with the team after the game, and the coach said he is in good spirits.