Injuries are piling up in the Miami Dolphins backfield ahead of Sunday's wild-card game against the Buffalo Bills.
Head coach Mike McDaniel told reporters on Monday that quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has yet to be cleared for football activity and confirmed that running back Raheem Mostert has a broken thumb. That status of both players is in doubt for Sunday's game.
Mostert broke a thumb against the New York Jets on Sunday. The injury requires surgery scheduled for Monday. New of the injury broke Monday afternoon before McDaniel confirmed it in his news conference.
"It's a serious injury," McDaniel said. "It's hard to know if he'll be able to play this week. I never put anything past Raheem Mostert. ... But it is a significant break of his thumb."
Meanwhile, Tagovailoa's status remains unclear after his Christmas Day concussion against the Green Bay Packers. He's missed two straight games since sustaining the head injury, his third of the season. McDaniel told reporters on Monday that the team hopes to know more on his status by Wednesday.
Mostert leads the Dolphins this season with 891 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 4.9 yards per carry. He also tallied 31 catches for 202 yards and two more touchdowns. If he can't go, backup Jeff Wilson is in line for a heavier work load.
Tagovailoa, meanwhile, remains in concussion protocol two weeks after the back of his head bounced off the turf against the Packers. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports that Tagovailoa remained in Stage 3 of the NFL's five-stage concussion protocol on Sunday. He won't be eligible to play until he clears all five stages.
Head coach Mike McDaniel said on Sunday that the Dolphins are continuing to "take it day-by-day" amid concern of the compounded toll of Tagovailoa's repeated head injuries.
“We’ll continue to take it day-by-day and I will not even think about any sort of game, whether that’s this year or next year, until he’s fully ready to do so," McDaniel told reporters. "And that comes with medical clearance. That’s why the procedure is in place. Haven’t even thought about that."
The Dolphins' win on Sunday was their first in four games this season with Tagovailoa sidelined. They beat the Jets, 11-6 despite not scoring a touchdown with third-string rookie Skylar Thompson playing quarterback. Backup Teddy Bridgewater was also sidelined with an injured finger on his throwing hand.
McDaniel said on Sunday that Bridgewater was close to playing on Sunday, adding optimism that he could be available next week against the Bills.
“Teddy was battling to be available,” McDaniel told reporters. “And we think that he was in a spot where he could have come through an emergency situation.
Thompson finished 20 of 31 on Sunday for 152 yards without a turnover.