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Dec 30, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers outside linebacker Melvin Ingram (54) in the rain during the fourth quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Can Super Melvin make a return?

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In mid-May after Melvin Ingram tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the San Diego Chargers executives didn’t panic and darkness didn’t befall over Chargers Park. Tom Telesco, general manager of the Chargers made a few good moves that included placing Ingram on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list and has been under this designation waiting to return to the practice field.

The rule is, as stated by the NFL:
Commencing on the day after the conclusion of the sixth regular season weekend (October 15) and continuing through the day after the conclusion of the 11th regular season weekend (November 19), clubs are permitted to begin practicing players on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform for a period not to exceed 21 calendar days. Pads and helmets are permitted during the 21-day period. At any time during the 21-day practice period, or prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the day after the conclusion of the 21-day period, clubs are permitted to restore such players on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform to their Active/Inactive List.

Last season, Terrell Suggs of the Baltimore Ravens found himself in a similar situation when he tore his Achilles tendon on April 29th. The expected recovery time after surgery is about 11 months for an injury of this magnitude. Suggs would do something phenomenal as he returned during the Ravens’ seventh game of the season against the Houston Texans on October 21st.

Now the question remains, can Ingram do the same? The Chargers executives and coaches, and most importantly, Ingram, now have a very important decision to make. If Ingram is healthy enough, when can we expect to see him practice? The expected recovery time after surgery for an ACL tear ranges from seven to nine months. From mid-May until now that puts Ingram in the five month window since his injury. Therefore hope still exists for Ingram to return to the field and there is no greater time than now to add a much needed pass rusher.

From the 2012 draft, 17 defensive players were selected in the first round, 10 of those players are designated as a defensive end, a defensive tackle or an outside linebacker and all but Ingram have recorded three or more sacks. Ingram was an unexpected gift at the 18th overall pick for the Chargers and needs to catch up in if he wants to build a name for himself.

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