Tua Tagovailoa’s appearance in a walking boot at the College Football Awards is sure to worry many Alabama fans about Tagovailoa’s high ankle sprain injury. After accepting the Maxwell Award, Tagovailoa noted he was “hopeful” he could play against Oklahoma.
ESPN’s Chris Fowler brought the award down from the stage to Tagovailoa who was walking with a noticeable limp.
During the College Football Playoff’s opening press conference, Alabama head coach Nick Saban noted Tagovailoa was “on schedule.”
“I think Tua’s right on schedule,” Saban explained to 247 Sports. “The procedure they did usually takes two weeks for a guy to be able to have any explosive movement, and then they go from there. So, we’ll see how he progresses from there. But we’re pleased with the progress he’s made to this point.”
Tagovailoa Underwent Surgery on His Ankle After the SEC Championship
According to CBS Sports, Tagovailoa underwent minor surgery on his ankle to help repair the injury. Dr. Troy Watson of Desert Orthopedic in Las Vegas spoke with AL.com about the typical recovery timeline for a high ankle sprain.
Dr. Watson said the use of surgery has been somewhat controversial in the medical community. It’s absolutely necessary in the high-grade sprains when there is instability but there’s a gray area, he said, in the middle tier of injuries.
“It’s not clear cut,” he said. “We really struggle to figure out the players that need surgery versus those who don’t. When it’s the gray zone or the Grade 2 injuries, those are the ones that can be really difficult to make that decision and pull the trigger with surgery or put the kid in a cast.”…
“But if it’s me and I’m going to be playing in the national championship game,” Dr. Watson said, “I’m probably going to take the risk. If it fails and I can’t go and reinjure myself, I have the whole offseason to get it better.”
It sounds like the team is expecting the quarterback to try to play against Oklahoma, but Tagovailoa declined to put a timeline on his recovery.
“I couldn’t put a timetable on this,” Tagovailoa explained per 247 Sports. “I’m just looking at trying to get better every day, and hopefully, it feels a lot better leading up to the game.”
Saban noted that Tagovailoa’s injury was similar to the one Jalen Hurts dealt with earlier this season.
“We did an MRI on his ankle,” Saban said per 247 Sports. “He had a high ankle sprain. We’ve got a great medical staff here, and they scope those things to get him to come back together a little bit quicker. It’s usually about a two-week deal. We’ll re-evaluate him in two weeks and see where he is. Very similar injury to what Jalen had, which took him a couple weeks to come back, as well. That’s as much as we can say about it right now, but we’re hopeful that by the time we get started in practice, he’ll be ready to go.”
Tagovailoa sustained the injury during the SEC title game after one of the Alabama offensive linemen stepped on his ankle. Hurts would get the start at quarterback if Tagovailoa is unable to play.