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Latest on Tua Tagovailoa; should UA have Jalen Hurts prepared to start CFP?

© Brett Davis - USA TODAY Sports

Since watching Jalen Hurts lift Alabama to a 35-28 win over Georgia in the Southeastern Conference title game, Tua Tagovailoa has had surgery on his ankle and is starting his process toward recovery.  

Per head coach Nick Saban, he said following the game that Tagovailoa would have his ankle “scoped by team doctors and it would be a two-week ordeal.”

Despite the injury not being too severe and the sophomore not having the same procedure that Hurts encountered earlier this season, there still lies the thought on whether Tagovailoa will be ready to start in the College Football Playoff semifinal versus Oklahoma. 

RELATED: Nick Saban updates injury on UA quarterback Tua Tagovailoa

The matchup is set for Saturday, Dec. 29 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Fla. 

It is expected for Tagovailoa to play, especially with how he has toughed it out through pain all season, but do not be surprised if Hurts gets the nod to start.

In the event of the native Hawaiian not adjusting to the procedure as quickly as hoped, it would not be in the Crimson Tide’s best interest to not get Hurts ready as much as it can.

Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts throws a pass versus Georgia in second half of 2018 Southeastern Conference Championship Game: John David Mercer – USA TODAY Sports

After the Tide’s meeting with Tennessee on Oct. 20 — the following week, Hurts had ankle surgery — the junior had a bye week and did not play against LSU or Mississippi State. He got in some action versus Citadel and Auburn and with rest following the SEC title game, Hurts will have had two month to recover.

He proved on last week that upon be called, he can emerge and carry the team to victory.

Hurts completed seven of nine pass attempts for 82 yards – including a 10-yard touchdown toss to Jerry Jeudy to even the score at 28. His rushing score of 15 yards was reminiscent of his freshman year against Clemson in the CFP National Championship Game to start the 2017 year (2016 season). Hurts gave the Tide its first lead of the game and it went on to defeat the Bulldogs in Atlanta to earn a conference title. 

While it has not practiced since the title game, Alabama is working on getting some players healthy – particularly on defense with Isaiah Buggs, Terrell Lewis and Christopher Allen. 

Once sessions crank back up, all eyes will be on Tagovailoa and his ability to successfully maneuver and plant his feet in the pocket. Should he look like his old self, the former five-star will lead the program against the Sooners.

If not, prepare to see Hurts take the field.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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