Sources: Tua Tagovailoa expected back as Dolphins' starter in 2023

Tua Tagovailoa is expected to return as the Miami Dolphins' starting quarterback for the 2023 season, league sources told ESPN.

It was thought, had the Dolphins defeated the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, that Tagovailoa could have potentially been cleared from the concussion protocol and work his way back to the field this postseason.

But regardless, the Dolphins have been pleased with Tagovailoa's development this season under first-year coach Mike McDaniel, according to sources.

Medical professionals also are confident that Tagovailoa should be able to resume his NFL career next season, if not sooner, sources said.

Teddy Bridgewater was active Sunday after being questionable with finger and knee injuries, but the veteran quarterback served as the backup to rookie starter Skylar Thompson in Sunday's 34-31 loss to the Bills.

Tagovailoa has been in the concussion protocol since Dec. 26 after suffering his second documented concussion of the season the day before in a loss to the Green Bay Packers.

McDaniel said this past Wednesday that Tagovailoa has not been cleared to resume any sort of football activities, and that because of the amount of time he has already missed, McDaniel was able to rule him out against Buffalo.