Injured Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has “a good chance” to play in Saturday’s home game against LSU if he continues to progress, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said Wednesday.
Speaking to ESPN, Saban said Tagovailoa has made strides, and that mobility will be the key factor on whether the quarterback faces second-ranked LSU.
“It’s still day-to-day, and you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow or the next day, but he’s moving around well and throwing the ball with confidence,” Saban said. “His mobility will be the big question, but every day that’s improved dramatically.”
No. 3 Alabama (8-0, 5-0) will play host to Southeastern Conference West Division rival LSU (8-0, 4-0) on Saturday afternoon in Tuscaloosa.
Tagovailoa underwent a “tight-rope” surgical procedure on Oct. 20 after suffering a high ankle sprain on his right ankle against Tennessee. He missed a 48-7 victory over Arkansas before Alabama was idle last weekend.
The left-handed junior has passed for 2,166 yards, 27 touchdowns and two interceptions this season for the Crimson Tide.
Tagovailoa had a “tight-rope” procedure last season on his left ankle after injuring it in the SEC Championship Game victory over Georgia. He returned to play less than a month later against Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff semifinal.
Saban told ESPN that Tagovailoa hasn’t experienced the swelling or soreness he did last year, and that it’s an easier recovery because it is not his plant foot.
“He knows what to expect now, and you could tell with his rehab,” Saban said. “Sometimes the first time a guy gets hurt, they’re even afraid in rehab and are asking, ‘Am I doing too much? Am I doing enough? It hurts, should I keep doing this?’
“But even in rehab, Tua was so much more aggressive because he knew the outcome. He already had it before, and his body also knew what to expect. It’s a lot like if you never had a stint before in your heart, you’d be scared to death the first time they did it. But if you had to do it a second time, you’d probably be a lot more at ease.”
Alabama receiver Henry Ruggs III told ESPN he believes Tagovalioa will be on the play Saturday.
“He looks good. You can tell he’s comfortable and will be ready to go,” Ruggs said.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)