For the second straight year, Kaulana Apelu‘s season has ended prematurely.
Monday, Mario Cristobal confirmed that Apelu will miss the remainder of the 2018 regular season because of a lower leg fracture. The linebacker suffered the injury in Saturday’s win over UCLA.
The good news for all involved is that the defensive leader is expected to return for the Ducks’ bowl game.
“He will be right there with me at practice coaching,” the head coach said. “He’s the heart and soul, one of the many guys that are together the heart and soul of the football team. His presence is necessary. He does a great job tutoring Sampson (Niu) and some of those other linebackers. He’ll be very active among our football team in any way that we can involve him.”
Apelu has recent experience in recovering from a significant injury as a fractured ankle cost him the last eight games of the 2017 season.
Through nine games, Apelu is second on the Ducks in tackles with 58. His primary backup to start the season, Isaac Slade-Matautia, has been sidelined for the last couple of weeks with a shoulder injury and is out for the foreseeable future. With those two sidelined, Sampson Niu will likely get the start at middle linebacker this weekend against Utah.