Tua Tagovailoa is expected to return on October 17

The Dolphins initially downplayed Tua Tagovailoa‘s rib injury, creating the impression he was day-to-day. Then, on the sixth day, the Dolphins put him on injured reserve.

He’s eligible to play again on October 17. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that, on that day, Tua “is expected to be ready to return.”

That’s not quite “will return,” leaving some wiggle room for Tua missing a fourth game when the Dolphins face the Jaguars in London. In a normal year, the Dolphins would have a bye after a trip to England. Miami specifically requested that a game be scheduled the following weekend. They’ll host the Falcons, who’ll be coming off a bye after their own trip to London.

The next few weeks will unfold with the ever-looming possibility of the Dolphins trading for Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. The trade deadline arrives in 30 days. For the Dolphins, that’s two days after a Week Eight rematch with the Bills (who broke Tua’s ribs) and one week before a game against Watson’s current team, the Texans.

Last Sunday, Fox’s Jay Glazer reported that the Texans had begun to soften their trade demands. Later, Glazer suggesting keeping an eye on the situation.

In the next four weeks and two days, the situation could entail Watson in Miami. Unless Tua ends up being part of the trade package, he’ll be there, too.