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MIAMI GARDENS (CBSMiami/AP) – Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has apparently avoided a serious rib injury.

Coach Brian Flores confirmed Monday afternoon the extent of Tagovailoa’s injury is bruised ribs.

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“Tua obviously went out of the game yesterday. We’re still running some tests. He was in a lot of pain yesterday. He’s still in a good deal of pain today. But I think we’ll call him day-to-day right now,” Flores told reporters.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) is assisted by offensive guard Jesse Davis (77), during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Hans Deryk)

Tagovailoa was knocked out of the Dolphins’ 35-0 loss to Buffalo on Sunday after just two series and eight plays. He ended up on the turf after three of those plays, sacked twice on the first series and then injured on the final play of Miami’s second possession.  Tagovailoa remained down for a moment, grimacing and grabbing at his left side. He could barely walk. He was taken from the sideline on a cart and didn’t return, though the Dolphins have hope that he can play in Week 3.

“If Tua can go, he’s going to go,” coach Brian Flores said. “That’s just the kind of kid he is.”

If Tagovailoa can’t go next Sunday when the Fins take on the Las Vegas Raiders, Miami will turn to Jacoby Brissett and may move Reid Sinnett from the practice squad to backup QB.

The game against the Bills was a Dolphin disaster.

A sixth straight loss to the Bills, matching the worst such streak in Miami history. The biggest margin of defeat ever against Buffalo. The second-worst home shutout loss in team history. Only the fourth time the Dolphins lost to an AFC East opponent by 35 or more points.

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“We just didn’t play well. I thought we just didn’t play well,” said Flores. “They’re a good team. I think we need to give them credit. They did a lot of good things yesterday. We simply just – whether it was communication or whether it was technique, fundamentals, we didn’t execute the way we needed to. We had some opportunities early. We didn’t take advantage of them and it kind of snowballed on us.”

“We know we need to be better,” offensive lineman Robert Hunt said. “We know we have some issues. We’ll come back and we’ll work to correct those issues.”

There was good news Monday, other than Flores sounding as if there’s at least reasonable hope of Tagovailoa playing this coming week — with a flak jacket to protect his ribs being a possibility.

“I think that’s something we would look into. To be honest, I don’t have a lot of familiarity with flak jackets. I think sometimes it’s personal preference for some guys who have dealt with some rib-type of injuries. Some guys just like to wear them for an extra layer of protection. I think that’s definitely something we would look into. Yeah, I think we’d look into it,” said Flores.

Wide receiver Will Fuller, who missed Week 1 while completing a six-game suspension and missed Week 2 for a personal matter, was back with the Dolphins on Monday.

Flores said he expects Fuller to practice this week, meaning his now twice-delayed Dolphin debut could come in Las Vegas on Sunday.

Besides Tagovailoa’s test results, there was more good news Monday. Initial reports on right tackle Jesse Davis (knee) and Jakeem Grant (ankle) did not suggest any long-term issues, Flores said.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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