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TUSCALOOSA — When it comes to the status of injured quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, confidence is riding high around the Alabama athletic complex with each day heading into Saturday’s rivalry game against No. 2 LSU.

Earlier Wednesday, Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban told ESPN.com “there’s a good chance (Tagovailoa) will play” before seemingly rehashing his “game-time decision” mantra regarding his quarterback’s playing availability in his regular post-practice press conference.

“Tua’s worked hard to try to get back to where he has an opportunity to play, he’s practiced some, we still don’t know what his status for the game is going to be, we’ll make it when the game comes,” Saban said later Wednesday. “We don’t know what kind of setbacks he’s going to have and (how) he’ll continue to progress. There’s nothing else I can really say about it.”

Tagovailoa underwent a TightRope surgical procedure on his right, non-plant ankle on Oct. 20 to help the healing process for a high ankle sprain suffered in the first half against Tennessee. Should he play Saturday as expected, it would be exactly 20 days post-op, which is almost unheard-of among skill players that have undergone a similar procedure.

Tagovailoa has participated on a somewhat limited basis in Alabama’s last five practices, including being visible during the open media viewing period all three days this week.

“If you watched (Tuesday’s) practice film, you would have a hard time even recognizing that the guy is hurt,” Saban told ESPN. “But we’re not asking him to do everything he would in a game. He’s not scrambling for a first down. He’s not getting chased by a defensive end or any of that stuff, so it’s a little bit controlled. We’ll continue to monitor him and see how he progresses, but we’re pleased with where he is.”

Despite citing Tagovailoa’s range of mobility as a concern with ESPN, Saban made it clear later Wednesday it could ultimately affect whether he plays or not.

“I’m not going to play the guy if he can’t move,” Saban said.

ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit, who will be in Tuscaloosa Saturday for ESPN’s College GameDay broadcast from the Quad, said he’s heard nothing but positive things about Tagovailoa’s progress this week.

“I think he’s going to be fine,” Herbstreit said Wednesday on a teleconference. “I talked with people down there, unless there’s some kind of setback within the game I expect him to be very capable of being the Tua that we expect.”

This article originally ran on annistonstar.com.

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