Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, as expected, was officially ruled out for Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots due to his concussion, coach Mike McDaniel said Friday.

The third-year quarterback remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol and likely in some of the early stages of the five-step return-to-play process as he has not practiced all week.

McDaniel labeled Tagovailoa as “better than the day before” on Friday as the team is taking the approach of not having him worry about anything beyond the current day. Tagovailoa has been at team facilities this week, mostly with medical staff but also attending team meetings while not participating in positional meetings with the other quarterbacks.

Teddy Bridgewater is in line to start for the Dolphins in Foxborough on Sunday with rookie Skylar Thompson his backup quarterback.

McDaniel said several other Dolphins are expected to be game-time decisions ahead of the critical matchup against the Patriots with significant playoff implications for both AFC East rivals.

Cornerback Xavien Howard, although McDaniel said was expected to practice Friday, was not seen during a brief media viewing portion of drills after popping up on the Thursday injury report with a knee ailment.

Miami has had left tackle Terron Armstead miss Wednesday and Thursday drills and was not spotted Friday as he nurses toe, pectoral, knee and hip injuries. Armstead is now dealing with an injury to a fourth body part, the hip, after already entering the past week with the other three ailments.

“A lot of trickle-down effect. He’s a warrior,” McDaniel said. “He’s going to push it until game time and see if he can give it a go.”

Outside linebacker Bradley Chubb (hand/ankle) and fullback Alec Ingold (thumb) both returned to practice Friday after missing Wednesday and Thursday drills. Both wore a cast on their right hand.

“All players kind of fall under that umbrella [of game-time decisions],” McDaniel said.

Wide receiver River Cracraft and tackle Eric Fisher — both with calf injuries — had missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Fisher was still not seen Friday, but Cracraft returned to drills for the first time since originally hurting his calf on Dec. 8, the Thursday before the Dolphins’ loss to the Chargers.

Although right tackle Brandon Shell appeared on the Thursday injury report for a shoulder ailment, McDaniel feels confident he’ll be able to play Sunday. Shell was practicing Friday.

Left guard decision

McDaniel would not reveal Friday who he’s starting against New England between Liam Eichenberg, who was activated off injured reserve this week, and Robert Jones.

With Jones filling in since Eichenberg injured his knee in the second half of the Oct. 30 win at the Detroit Lions, McDaniel did offer some positive words about his play over seven starts since.

“I feel fortunate that Rob really seized the opportunity that he’s had,” McDaniel said. “I think he’s put his best NFL tape on display. I think he’s continued to get better. We’ll continually do what’s best for the team, in our opinion, and that’s for the players to earn.”

Practice squad move

The Dolphins signed wide receiver Calvin Jackson Jr., a Fort Lauderdale native and local high school football standout at Coral Springs Charter, back to their practice squad Friday. He had spent five weeks on the team’s practice squad earlier this season. Jackson is the son of the former Dolphins safety by the same name who made 57 starts for the team from 1994-1999.

To make room for Jackson, Miami released DaeSean Hamilton from the practice quad after originally signing him on Dec. 14.

If Cracraft is unavailable for Sunday, the Dolphins have an option to elevate Jackson or sign Braylon Sanders, who has used all three of his elevations, to the active roster. Miami has kept rookie Erik Ezukanma inactive for all 15 games this season.

This story will be updated.



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