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Grab Your Cactus: Tua Tagovailo suffers injury on throwing hand, Gardner Minshew heads to Wazzu

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So, about that Spring quarterback battle...

angry cactus

Those who had counted on cranking out a few articles the next month about the ongoing quarterback battle between Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts — and the dark horse candidacy of Gardner Minshew — are going to have to look elsewhere. Worse, it’s going to make me think of other stuff to write .

For Alabama fans, it’s a damned fine time to swing your cactus.

From ESPN:

“Probably going to require some time for him to get back,” Saban said. “I’m not going to speculate on what the injury might be.”

* * *

”I think in a few days Tua probably will be able to do some things, but when you hurt your thumb on your throwing hand it’s kind of hard to grip the ball. So I think that’s going to be the issue, whether he is able to throw it,” Saban said.

Saban added that Tagovailoa and Hurts, who split first-team reps Tuesday, will battle for the job “just like every position.”

Well, Saban won’t speculate, but #sauces up the pipeline report both good and bad news.

Bad news first: Tua reportedly has broken a thumb and throwing-hand injuries often require surgery to stabilize the bones. Good news: It rumored to be just a break. The lack of ligament or tendon damage should have the freshman hail and well by Fall.

As for as winning the job long-term, Jalen Hurts couldn’t ask for a better scenario, honestly.

So, does that open the door for grad transfer Gardner Minshew to move up the depth chart?

Not quite:

Bruce Feldman of Sports Illustrated reported that [Minshew] will report to campus in May and contend for the starting job in Pullman.

”This is an opportunity to compete for a (starting) job on a very good team with a staff that I’ve always looked up to and respected,” he told Feldman. “I’ve got goals as an (aspiring) coach but also as a player, and my goal right now is to get a shot in the NFL. And I think this will give me a good opportunity at that.”

This kid and his camp have spun so many different stories at this point, I’m ready to see the backside of his jersey. In just a few days, word from his people is that he was never going to transfer to Alabama; that it was only ruse for attention (ibid); that he was only ever transferring because of a family emergency.

And now, the latest: to compete for a starting job. Sounds like a true family emergency medical situation to me.

But, part of the underlying story here is purported to be as banal as degree requirements towards a masters (the SEC has a particularly stiff rule) and SEC restrictions on last-semester hours before transferring. Minshew, who sat out this entire semester, was not going to be eligible at Alabama — or any other SEC program. Nor would the league likely grant a waiver. The Big 12 and Pac 12 have no such rule. Thus, Minshew was available to play for both Texas (a school he shopped) and Washington State (where he’s landing.)

This shouldn’t really be a cactus moment though. I really like Mac Jones, and you should too.

But, for Alabama, this does leave a void at quarterback depth for the Spring. We’ll have more on that this week when we know the full extent of Tagovailoa’s injury and we can preview the quarterbacks. For now, it’s Hurts, Mac Jones, and walk-on Kyle Edwards.