Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama Crimson Tide improving; Kyler Murray of Oklahoma Sooners feeling ill


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa on Wednesday said his sprained left ankle is at about 80-85 percent and he’s had no setbacks on his rehab since returning to practice.

“It’s been a lot better,” Tagovailoa said, adding he continues to get near constant treatment.

Meanwhile, his counterpart, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, skipped the Sooners’ media availability on Wednesday morning because he wasn’t feeling well, a school spokesman said.

No. 1 Alabama plays No. 4 Oklahoma on Saturday in the College Football Playoff at the Capital One Orange Bowl.

Tagovailoa, the runner-up to Murray in Heisman Trophy balloting this season, underwent surgery after the injury in the SEC championship game against Georgia, and his status has been closely monitored since.

“I let my parents deal with that, with how they wanted to go about doing things with the trainers,” Tagovailoa said when asked why he decided to undergo the surgery. “They talked to the trainers and the trainers and my parents sat me down and talked to me about it, and I told them as long as it’s fine with my parents, I’m fine with it.”

As for Murray, who threw for 4,053 yards and 40 touchdowns for the Sooners this season, Oklahoma offensive coordinator Cale Gundy couldn’t offer many details about what exactly is wrong with the Heisman Trophy winner, who practiced Tuesday.

“I didn’t know anything about it until I got in the car this morning,” Gundy said. “I’m sure the doctors got with him and probably thought it was best to get a little rest before practice.

“He should be fine I think, but I don’t really know a whole lot of it.”

The situation immediately brought back memories of last season, when Baker Mayfield missed several media availabilities before the College Football Playoff semifinal against Georgia with flu-like symptoms. Nobody on the Oklahoma side, however, seems to believe it’s as bad as what Mayfield dealt with a year ago in the run-up to the Rose Bowl.

Gundy also said he’s hopeful leading receiver Marquise Brown, who injured his lower leg in the Big 12 title game, will be able to play and is “doing well.” He said coach Lincoln Riley would offer information on whether Brown, whose status has been a big question mark, has been able to practice.

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