Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will not be placed under a timeline for his expected return from right ankle surgery, Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban said on Monday.
The Heisman Trophy frontrunner had surgery for a high ankle sprain and will be permitted to participate in non-weight-bearing workouts for several days before beginning traditional rehab. He had an identical “tightrope” surgery on his other ankle last December and returned for the College Football Playoff, missing a total of 13 days.
Saban said after the surgery in a school-issued statement that Tagovailoa is out for a week.
He clarified Monday that there is “no real timetable.”
“But the expectation is he will be non-weight bearing for several days and then he’ll be able to come back as his rehab allows him,” Saban said. “We’re hopeful that in a 10-day period, he’ll be back being able to do active-type rehab, and we’ll see how it goes from there. But these things are pretty unpredictable at this point.”
In Saturday’s game, Tagovailoa had his legs tangled during a sack by Tennessee Volunteers defensive tackle Greg Emerson, and his right foot was pinned awkwardly. Tagovailoa stayed in for a play, then went to the team’s medical tent on the sideline. He walked to the locker room with a slight limp, and videos on social media showed him walking to an ambulance to leave the stadium.
Tagovailoa injured both ankles — with a high-ankle sprain on the left — in the SEC Championship Game last year.
Alabama, ranked No. 1, went on to win 35-13, with Tagovailoa finishing 11 of 12 for 155 yards and an interception. Backup Mac Jones went 6 of 11 for 72 yards, and wideout Slade Bolden tossed a 6-yard touchdown on one attempt.
The Crimson Tide improved to 7-0 (4-0 SEC) with the victory. They host Arkansas on Saturday, then have an open date prior to a Nov. 9 showdown at home against No. 2 LSU.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)