The Miami Dolphins will get quarterback Tua Tagovailoa back in the starting lineup on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, barring a setback during the team’s final practice of the week, coach Brian Flores said Friday.
“Assuming everything goes well in practice today,” Flores said, “Tua will start.”
Everything apparently went well.
“I feel good,” Tagovailoa said. “I’m just happy to be out there with the team again.”
Tagovailoa said he probably isn’t fully healed.
“I don’t think it’s 100 percent pretty,” he said, “but I’m just ready to get back out on the field. So that’s that.”
This move does not surprise the Jacksonville Jaguars. Defensive coordinator Joe Cullen said Thursday he expected Tagovailoa to start for the Dolphins, although the team had also prepared in case that didn’t happen.
Tagovailoa has been on injured reserve nursing fractured ribs the last three weeks He said he’s been spending that time in meetings and on the sideline, trying to help the team’s other quarterbacks.
Jacoby Brissett, who started the last three games in Tagovailoa’s absence, will serve as the backup.
The Dolphins lost the three games Brissett started and are 1-4 this season.
Tagovailoa was injured in the first quarter of the season’s second game — Miami’s home opener — against the Buffalo Bills. The injury happened when Bills defensive end A.J. Epenesa caught and tackled the quarterback as he scrambled out of the pocket.
Tagovailoa said he was wearing “a rib cage protector” when he was injured and this week he and equipment managers have been experimenting with different gear to protect him on Sunday. And he will wear protection on Sunday.
Tagovailoa, in his second season, was off to a slow start before he was injured. He had completed 17 of 31 passes (54.8 percent completion) for 215 yards with one touchdown and one interception. His quarterback rating is 74.0.
“My message to him is take it one play at a time and try to execute,” said Flores, who added the quarterback has looked pretty good in practice in his return from his injury.
“He’s done a nice job this week,” Flores added.
The Jaguars are winless after five games.
The teams will meet at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London as the final of two international NFL games this season.
Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero