Very unexpected news hit the Saints team yesterday when Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that running back Mark Ingram underwent knee surgery that will keep him out 6 weeks and out of mini camps. While Ingram is supposed to be back healthy in time for training camp, his health issues are starting to become a little worrisome. You’ll remember he spent an extensive portion of the offseason on crutches already due to surgery on his toe, an injury that ultimately landed him on IR last season and had him missing the playoffs. Ingram also dealt with what, at the time, was labelled minor knee issues during the course of last season. He missed a total of 6 regular season games and the 2 playoff games. Not exactly the kind of health you’re hoping for out of your rookie season, especially when the Saints use a heavy platoon system that in theory puts less injury risk on it’s running backs.
No word yet on if this is the same knee that gave him trouble at Alabama. After a mammoth sophomore season in which he won the Heisman Trophy, the following season at Alabama wasn’t nearly as good in large part due to the fact that he had athroscopic knee surgery and was recovering from that during the 2010 season. A running back with knee issues is scary enough, but a running back with resurfacing knee issues that missed a large portion of last season due to turf toe is an even bigger worry. Ingram is now creeping dangerously close to the label that all players detest and teams fear greatly: “injury prone”. Hard to call this an abberation when his knee already necessitated surgery in college and caused him to miss games, and now it will cost him 6 weeks.
The good news is this 6 week period will cost him hopefully no time in training camp, and it definitely shouldn’t cost him any time in the season. We’ll keep a close eye on how healthy he can remain in the 2012 season, though it’s not off to a great start. At least the Saints have a good stable of backs around him to help with depth. Mark Ingram had a promising rookie season cut short by injury and there’s a lot of reason for optimism that he can become an excellent player if he stays healthy. Problem is, that “if” quantifier is becoming more pronounced.