Nov. 16 (UPI) — Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will miss the rest of this season after dislocating his right hip Saturday in the Crimson Tide’s 38-7 victory over host Mississippi State, orthopedic surgeon said in a statement.
The Heisman Trophy runnerup last season and a leading candidate this year will miss the final two games of the regular season and future postseason games.
“He is undergoing further testing to determine the best course of treatment,” Dr. Lyle Cain, Alabama’s orthopedic surgeon, said in a statement. “He is expected to make a full recovery but will miss the remainder of the season.”
The Crimson Tide (8-1) currently are No. 5 in the college ratings with four teams qualifying for the playoff competition.
Tagovailoa is a 6-foot-1, 218-pound junior from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, who attended high school in St. Louis, according to an Alabama athletic department bio.
With three minutes left before halftime and a 35-7 lead and third down, Tagovailoa rolled to his left as he was brought down by two Bulldogs defenders. He couldn’t put pressure on his right leg when he was helped up by trainers.
He was carted off from the field and eventually airlifted from Starkville to Birmingham for CAT scans and MRIs.
Tagovailoa had surgery on his right ankle on Oct. 20, one day after he was injured in the Crimson Tide’s 35-13 victory over Tennessee. Tagovailoa missed Alabama’s 48-7 victory over Arkansas on Oct. 26 but started against LSU in a loss last week
Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said after the game that he didn’t think the injury was related to his past one.
“It’s kind of a freak thing that you seldom see,” he said. “He was good, at least as good as he was a week ago in terms of his ability to move. I don’t think anything he did affected his performance in the first half. So the guy played, and I thought he played really well. And we hate it that he got injured.
“We hate it for him. We hate it for his family. I hate it when any player on our team gets injured. So Godspeed to him and his entire family, and our thoughts and prayers are with them and hope this is not so serious it has any long-term effect on his future as a player.”
Mac Jones replaced their No. 1 quarterback.
The drive was going to be Tagovailoa’s final one of the game, Saban told ESPN.
“We can second-guess ourselves all we want,” Saban said. “We told Mac to warm up. We were going to go two-minute before the half, and Tua wanted to go in the game. So I don’t really make a lot of decisions about guys getting hurt. … We had total confidence in Mac, and Mac did a good job when he went in.”
In the procedure Saturday, surgeons drilled a hole from his fibula into the tibia and cast three tightropes through the bone and cinched it down to tighten it. It is called a “tightrope” procedure that also was performed on his left ankle after the Southeastern Championship game last season.
He is a potential top-10 pick in the NFL’s spring draft.
As a freshman in January 2018, he started the second half of the College Football Playoff National Championship Game against Georgia. Alabama rallied to beat the Bulldogs 26-23 in overtime.
Last year, Clemson defeated Alabama 44-16 in the title game.