Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa taken off after right hip injury

Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa suffered a right hip injury with the No. 5 Crimson Tide up 35-7 on Mississippi State late in the first half.

Tagovailoa was scrambling to his left and threw the ball away as he was chased by two Bulldog defenders and he landed awkwardly on his right leg. He also hit his head and suffered what appeared to be a cut on his face or a bloody nose.

How Tua Tagovailoa got injured. (via ESPN)

Tagovailoa was carted off the field after he was unable to put weight on that right leg.

“He hurt his hip, so I don’t know anything else more than that,” Alabama coach Nick Saban told ESPN at the start of halftime. “They took him in to look at him so we’ll see what’s happening. That was going to be his last series, we were going to do two-minute [drill] before the half with him just for practice. And of course we’ve got to block them better so he doesn’t get sacked. Too bad.”

Saban said that the team had thought about putting backup QB Mac Jones into the game before deciding that Tagovailoa should stay in because of the potential two-minute drill practice.

“We were going to put Mac in and then we said we’ll let Tua do two-minute before the half just for practice,” Saban said. “And I don’t worry about players getting hurt and certainly don’t want to see anybody get hurt, especially him.”

An ambulance left Davis-Wade Stadium in the third quarter shielded from the view of those inside the stadium by a Mississippi State banner. That ambulance, which was surrounded by Alabama staff, presumably carried Tagovailoa.

An ambulance leaves Davis-Wade Stadium. (via ESPN)

Tagovailoa injured right ankle in October

Tagovailoa played against No. 1 LSU on Nov. 9 just three weeks after having a surgical procedure after he suffered a high ankle sprain against Tennessee on Oct. 19. He missed just one game during that span and was listed as a game-time decision for Mississippi State game. But he went through pre-game drills and all systems were go for Saturday’s contest.

He looked great until the injury as well. He was 14-of-18 passing for 256 yards and threw two touchdown passes as the Tide blitzed the Bulldogs.

The upcoming debate: Should he have been in?

The discussion started happening as soon as Tagovailoa went down. Should he have been in the game with his team up 28 points against an inferior opponent when he didn’t start the game fully healthy?

Saban’s explanation for why Tagovailoa was in the game makes perfect sense and is easily defensible. You don’t see starters pulled in the first half of conference games — no matter how big of a blowout the game is — very often. And game situations are great times to practice the two-minute offense. The decision to keep him in the game isn’t even a blip if the drive merely results in a touchdown or a punt.

Alas, it sadly resulted with Tagovailoa in some serious pain. Injuries can strike at any time during football games. And this is, unfortunately, one of those times.

While Tagovailoa being on the sidelines could have prevented the injury, the decision to keep him in the game had a relatively small risk attached to it. And sometimes low-probability scenarios come to fruition.

Tagovailoa had a Heisman-worthy season until injuries

Tagovailoa has been one of the most productive quarterbacks in college football in 2019. But his Heisman hopes likely disappeared with that right ankle injury against the Volunteers.

He had thrown for 27 touchdowns and two interceptions before he injured his ankle. And he came back to throw four touchdowns and for 418 yards in that 46-41 loss to the Tigers a week ago. But he also had an unforced fumble and an interception in the first half that helped LSU jump out to a 20-point lead at halftime.

Counting the first half of the game against Mississippi State, Tagovailoa is 180-of-252 passing for 2,840 yards and 33 touchdowns and three interceptions. He’s also rushed for two scores. Hopefully he’ll have an opportunity to add to those statistics before the end of the season if the injury isn’t as severe as it looked.

If it is, Alabama’s playoff case is also significantly impacted. The Crimson Tide were the first team out of the top four after losing to LSU and still had a shot at the playoff with an 11-1 regular season. And a healthy Tagovailoa.

Without a healthy Tagovailoa, an Alabama team that probably won’t go to the SEC Championship Game because of that LSU loss isn’t an enticing option for the top four. Teams like Utah, Oregon and even Oklahoma could have better one-loss cases with healthy quarterbacks and potential conference championships.

- - - - - - -

Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports

More from Yahoo Sports:

Read Full Story