The New Orleans Saints have been dealt an unfortunate blow today, as former LB, and newly minted DE, Hau'oli Kikaha will reportedly miss the upcoming 2016 season with a torn ACL. Here is the tweet reporting the story from FOX Sports' Mike Garafolo.
Rough news for the Saints: DE Hau'oli Kikaha tore his ACL, sources say. Last year's second-round pick likely done for the season.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) June 9, 2016
Kikaha has been down this road before. Suffered two ACLs in college. Came back strong.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) June 9, 2016
This is a serious blow to the Saints defense. Although this defense is arguably better on paper than its 2014 and 2015 counterparts, the Saints could ill afford to lose the fastest player on their front seven, especially considering how much the Saints were expecting him to take on in 2016. As stated above, Kikaha has dealt with this injury twice before, he came back strong enough to lead the nation in sacks at the University of Washington in 2014.
It was only two weeks ago that Kikaha was transitioned from an outside linebacker to an edge rusher at defensive end. Clearly, the Saints had their hopes set high for the second-year speed rusher, but now the team will have to course-correct somehow, either by promoting from within or finding whatever is left on the market. It has yet to be reported which knee was injured and when it occurred, but we will stay posted.
Kikaha can and should recover from this setback, but the big question is if the Saints defense can recover from this blow for the 2016 season. Only time will tell. Good luck to a promising young player on a speedy and safe recovery.