The San Diego Chargers chose former South Carolina Gamecocks defensive end Melvin Ingram with the 18th pick in round one of the 2012 NFL Draft. Ingram tore his ACL and had surgery on May 21, but he has not been ruled out for the 2013 season.
According to U-T San Diego beat writer Michael Gehlken, Ingram said “you never know, I can’t predict the future. I don’t want to make predictions. You know I want to play. Everyone out here knows I want to play. Just get healthy and see what happens.”
The injury to Ingram led to Tom Telesco signing former Indianapolis Colts DE/OLB Dwight Freeney to a two-year deal. Ingram had one sack in 2012, but he also had a forced fumble in limited minutes. Ingram was going to replace 2012 San Diego sack leader Shaun Phillips, who signed with the Denver Broncos.
San Diego’s coaching staff made the right decision by bringing Ingram along slowly as he had one start last season. While it is Ingram’s body and his choice as to how hard he pushes himself to come back, San Diego’s coaching staff and front office would be smart to sit him this season.
The recovery time for a player returning from an ACL tear varies. The only scenario in which it makes some sense to insert Ingram into the lineup is if San Diego is competing for a playoff spot and Freeney is struggling.
Ingram has two years left on his deal after 2013 and could be the future at OLB, so bringing him back this season could be a risk that is not worth taking.