After going through the league’s concussion protocol, returning to the field, and taking a knee to end the first half, Texans starting quarterback Tom Savage was officially ruled out with a concussion at halftime of today’s game against the Tennessee Titans.
Tom Savage re-evaluated at halftime, out with a concussion— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) January 1, 2017
Savage had a roller coaster of a first half against the Tennessee Titans that featured him fumbling a ball away deep in Texans’ territory that the Titans returned for their first touchdown of the afternoon. He sustained the concussion during a successful quarterback sneak on fourth down.
The officials appeared to pull Savage immediately after the play, forcing him off the field after he slowly got to his feet following the pileup on the QB sneak.
After going to the locker room, Savage came running back onto the sideline, reportedly having been cleared under the NFL’s protocol. He didn’t immediately take the field, but he did reenter the game for one snap, taking a knee to run the clock out for the first half. At halftime, Savage was reevaluated and ruled out with a concussion, leaving Brock Osweiler as the Texans’ lone active option at QB.
The question now becomes whether Tom Savage will be ready to play in next weekend’s Wild Card playoff game.
SB Nation's Adam Stites helped outline the concussion protocol earlier this season.
It is a five-step process without any set timeline for a full return from a concussion:
Rest and recovery: Until a player returns to the "baseline level of signs and symptoms and neurological examination," only limited stretching and balance activities are recommended. Electronics, social media and team meetings are all to be avoided.
Light aerobic exercise: The NFL recommends 10-20 minutes on a stationary bike or treadmill without resistance training or weight training. The cardiovascular activity is monitored by an athletic trainer to "determine if there are any recurrent concussion signs or symptoms."
Continued aerobic exercise and introduction of strength training: Increased duration and intensity of aerobic exercise with strength training added. An athletic trainer will supervise to watch for recurrent concussions signs or symptoms.
Football specific activities: The cognitive load of playing football will be added and players will participate in non-contact activities for the typical duration of a full practice.
Full football activity/clearance: A player returns to full participation in practice, including contact without restriction.
If Savage can’t complete the protocol process as early as Saturday, Houston could see Brock Osweiler under center for its playoff opener. Perhaps just as importantly, Savage’s concussion likely means that Osweiler would get most, if not all, of the snaps at practice this week. That lack of meaningful preparation alone could doom Savage’s chances of starting his first playoff game.
UPDATE: Bill O’Brien says the QB situation will be evaluated throughout the week.
O'Brien said if Savage is cleared Texans will still evaluate starting QB situation for playoffs.— Brian T. Smith (@ChronBrianSmith) January 1, 2017