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Tagovailoa ruled out playing against the Bills in the playoffs

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — He has not been cleared to return to athletic activities and has been ruled out of Sunday’s playoff game against the Buffalo Bills while remaining on the NFL’s concussion protocol, Miami Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said.

The Dolphins are preparing rookie starter Skylar Thompson when they face the Bills for the third time this season. Backup Teddy Bridgewater is working to return to his full potential after dislocating his little finger.

McDaniel said he doesn’t know if Tagovailoa will be available to travel with the squad this weekend, and while he hasn’t faced any setbacks in his recovery, there are “compounding variables” in play that will keep him out indefinitely. .

“He’s learning for himself that he needs to listen to the advice of doctors and medical professionals,” said McDaniel. “He understands the risk of doing that, so there are some things he can’t control.”

Tagovailoa was diagnosed with a concussion for the second time this season after the loss to Green Bay and missed the Dolphins’ last two regular season games.

He had already missed two games earlier in the season when he sustained a concussion in Week 4 against Cincinnati in a scary move, hitting him momentarily unconscious. It was four days after he was allowed to return to the game when he looked disoriented after his injury.

Days later, the NFL changed concussion protocol to require that if a player displays symptoms of a concussion, including an inability to maintain balance or stability, that they must rest for the rest of the game.

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McDaniel declined to say if there are concerns about Tagovailoa’s long-term health or if there are considerations about how head injuries might affect the third-year NFL quarterback’s career.

Thompson, in his second start of the season, completed 20 of 31 passes for 152 yards without a turnover in an 11-6 win over the New York Jets on Sunday.