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Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Colts OL Ijalana will rehab left knee, again

By Paul Kuharsky

Whether Ben Ijalana was going to factor in to the Indianapolis Colts' offensive line plan, we did not know.

Ijalana
We know now he’s not an option, out for the year with a torn left ACL, the same injury that ended his rookie season in 2011 after four games. Inside linebacker A.J. Edds is also finished for the season with a torn ACL.

The previous regime drafted Ijalana out of Villanova in the second round in 2011 after picking Anthony Castonzo in the first round. They looked to be long-term bookend tackles. One evaluator of personnel told me right after the Colts’ draft that he thought Ijalana would be a better NFL player than Castonzo, the team’s left tackle.

As Bill Polian and Jim Caldwell were ousted and Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano replaced them, the team aimed to move away from a fast, agile line to a bigger, more physical group.

Ijalana, listed at 6-foot-4 and 317 last season, came into the league as a tackle. Pagano told Indianapolis reporters Tuesday that Ijalana rehabbed not only the reconstructed knee but also came back from two hip surgeries. As he did, he apparently bulked up, as he’s listed as a 337-pound guard now.

It’s sad for any guy who’s fought back from a serious injury to land in the same place, knowing he will have to do it all over again.

Once he does, he’ll be left to wait and see whether he’ll fit in the offensive line plan in 2013 after missing all but four of 32 games in his first two years.