Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s injury status update is positive heading into Saturday’s College Football Playoff Semifinal game against Oklahoma, but not yet perfect.
Injured in Alabama’s SEC Championship game win against Georgia with a high ankle sprain above his left foot, Tagovailoa has been rehabilitating the injury for weeks as the Crimson Tide tries to make a run at another national championship. Tagovailoa told members of the media this week according to multiple reports that he’s “a lot better” and probably at “80 to 85 percent” if graded on a scale of 100. By game time with Oklahoma on Saturday, Tagovailoa plans to be ready.
“(Treatment) has been really good,” Tagovailoa told members at the media at the Orange Bowl this week, according to For the Win.
Tagovailoa has practiced with the team since December 14 and he is expected to start against Oklahoma in Saturday’s Orange Bowl national playoff semifinal game.
No. 1 Alabama (13-0) vs. No. 4 Oklahoma (12-1) (Orange Bowl)
Date: Saturday, December 29, 2018
Location: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, Florida
Time: 8 p.m. Eastern Time
TV Channel: ESPN
This wasn’t the first time Alabama’s starting quarterback got injured this year. In a stellar season that resulted in him being a Heisman Trophy finalist while leading the Crimson Tide to an undefeated record, Tagovailoa first injured his ankle in the first half of the year against Arkansas. He did not miss any practice at that time, but he further injured the same ankle against Missouri, grabbing at the back of his knee after sliding to avoid contact.
“We don’t think there’s any issues or problems with it,” Saban said at the time, referring to the quarterback’s knee.
In the SEC Championship game against Georgia Tagovailoa struggled and suffered a high ankle sprain, leaving the game as former Crimson Tide starter Jalen Hurts stepped in and led the team to victory.
Now, it’s likely Tagovailoa is back as the starter, mostly recovered from injury, and Hurts will once again fill a backup role. Tagovailoa and Alabama will face Oklahoma starter Kyler Murray, who won the Heisman Trophy 2018. Murray has been sick this week, with a visible cough and sniffles at media day, but he is expected to play and start for the Sooners.
According to the AP, Oklahoma “has the No. 1 scoring offense in the country at 49.5 points per game; Alabama is No. 2 at 47.9. Murray led the nation in pass efficency, with Tagovailoa No. 2 and both were well ahead of everyone else on that list. Tagovailoa was No. 1 nationally in yards per completion at 16.85; Murray was right behind him at 16.82.”
“I think it’s going to be exciting,” Tagovailoa said at media day this week. “(Murray) is a competitor. I’m a competitor. And to be able to go up against the best, that’s what you want to do. I think it’s going to be really fun.”
Hurts, one of the most successful starting quarterbacks in Alabama football history, lost his starting job to Tagovailoa in last year’s national championship game. The Crimson Tide offense was struggling and Alabama coach Nick Saban put Tagovailoa into the game for the second half against Georgia and he led a dramatic come-from-behind win. There’s been speculation that Hurts will transfer for his senior year but so far he’s not saying.
Hurts said at media day, accoring to reports, “my story’s still unfolding. Just have to see what’s up next.”
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