Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa wearing knee brace this week during practices

Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa wearing knee brace this week during practices

October 11th, 2018 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Alabama sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa tries to break free from an Arkansas defender during last Saturday's game in Fayetteville.

Alabama sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa tries to break...

Photo by Kent Gidley/Alabama

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, the leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy and the nation's leader in passing efficiency, is dealing with an injury this week.

The injury is not expected to keep him off the field Saturday night when the No. 1 Crimson Tide (6-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) host Missouri (3-2, 0-2) at homecoming.

"Tua has taken every rep in practice," Alabama coach Nick Saban said Wednesday evening in a news conference. "He does have a sprained knee, and we did put a knee brace on him just to kind of protect him, but he's been able to do all the work in the practices, so that's not an issue."

The Tide practiced for two hours Wednesday in full pads, their second full-pads workout of the week.

Tagovailoa apparently suffered the setback during last Saturday's 65-31 win at Arkansas, where the 6-foot-1, 218-pound sophomore threw for 334 yards on just 10-of-13 passing.

Tagovailoa has completed 76 of 101 passes (75.2 percent) for 1,495 yards with 18 touchdowns and no interceptions this season. He also has rushed 23 times for 122 yards and two scores.

In Alabama's past two first halves against Louisiana and Arkansas, Tagovailoa has completed 18 of 20 passes for 462 yards with six touchdowns.

Alabama not only worked out Wednesday with Tagovailoa wearing a brace but with left guard Lester Cotton absent due to an injury sustained in Tuesday's practice. The 6-6, 325-pound senior has started 24 games in his Tide career.

"Lester Cotton sprained his ankle," Saban said. "It's a mild ankle sprain, and hopefully he'll be able to get back to practice tomorrow and will be fine."

Saban announced in Monday's news conference that junior cornerback Trevon Diggs would be out indefinitely after breaking his foot at Arkansas. He gave a slightly more precise update Wednesday, and the news wasn't good.

"I'll be surprised if he'll be able to come back by the end of the season," Saban said.

True freshman Patrick Surtain and junior-college transfer Saivion Smith continue to occupy the starting cornerback spots with Diggs out.

"Hopefully they look at this opportunity in a positive way," Saban said.

Contact David Paschall at or 423-757-6524.