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?


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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  • Lee

    where the hell is brandon taylor?

    • Peter Thompson

      Exactly.. this is why I say “No”… we will not see Ingram. Wish we could, but I just don’t think it happens.

    • Joel Ayala

      Taylor has been practicing per a chargers beat writer on tweeter told me. I asked the same question. Hopefully we will see him really soon.

  • TheReturnOfMrBlanks

    I was hoping you had a update on him, one day one day

  • Peter Thompson

    A torn ACL is worse than a torn Achilles, right? I know they both must be excruciating injuries, but the ACL seems much worse to me. However, I have not had either injury, so maybe someone can shed light.

    • jamfed

      They’re totally different, but Achilles can be career threatening… I’d guess Achilles is worse

      • dave

        Uh.. Torn ACL is career-threatening too

        • jamfed

          Not so much anymore… Typical ACL recovery time USED to be 1 full year. Now it’s like 6 months. Tendons and Ligaments are different. But I’m no doctor…

  • Bill Nichols

    Yeah, where the hell is Brandon Taylor. Jesus H Super Chargers Man, what is up with this dude? We sure could use him, and he must be close or else the powers that be would’ve freed up a roster spot by now, right?? I’m freaking out over here… lol Bolt Up!!

  • tubbs45

    Take your time to fully heal. We need you bad, but not at the cost of your career!

  • John Bauer

    I would love Melvin to return & be that special pass rusher that we need, but if I am right did he not only have 1/2 a sack as a rookie? The way I see it being a great pass rusher in mostly (not all) speed & quickness & either you have that or you do not, unlike a like a QB that has to learn things like reading a defense Any thoughts anyone ?

  • OP Bolt

    Seems to me there are three issues – the medical issue, the performance issue, and the roster spot issue. On the medical side, I think the Chargers have to err on the side of the long term good of the team. Frankly, the probabilities suggest he will not really change the final position of the team this year. So for planning purposes, even if he returns to practice, my inclination would be to work him back slow and steady. If a miracle occurs at the end of the season, and he is back in playing shape, I would be prepared to actually use him in a playoff game.

    If he is cleared to practice (which has not occurred yet), then I would try to slowly integrate him back into practice. The problem for the coaches is that every practice play for Ingram takes away a practice play from someone who really needs it for that week’s game (e.g., Williams). To my mind, this reinforces the slow and steady practice schedule for Ingram.

    I am less clear on the roster spot issue. Ingram will be one of the 53, but I don’t know what the rules are regarding whether he has to be one of the 46 listed on game day. As other players (OLBs) get short term injuries (e.g., one or two games), the roster spot issue could put real pressure on the team to either play him or put him on IR for the rest of the year.