Oregon’s second-leading tackler out with broken leg

Oregon Ducks linebacker Kaulana Apelu (39) suffered his injury against UCLA on Saturday.Photo Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Sports Xchange

Oregon linebacker Kaulana Apelu will miss the rest of the regular season with a fracture of his lower leg, Ducks coach Mario Cristobal confirmed this week.

Apelu, the Ducks’ second-leading tackler, suffered the injury during Saturday’s victory over UCLA.

This is the second straight season an injury has caused Apelu to miss multiple games. He missed the final eight games of the 2017 season with a broken ankle.

However, Apelu is expected to be ready to return for Oregon’s bowl game this season.

“He will be right there with me at practice coaching,” Cristobal said, according to the Oregonian. “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.”

Through nine games, Apelu has 58 tackles, including five for losses and two sacks, and has broken up four pass attempts.

His primary backup to start the season, Isaac Slade-Matautia, is out with a shoulder injury, which means Sampson Niu will likely to start at middle linebacker this weekend against Utah.

Oregon is 6-3, including 3-3 in the Pac-12.