Melvin Ingram's road to recovery begins Tuesday.

The possibility it could lead to him playing in 2013, while unlikely, has not been ruled out.

The Chargers outside linebacker is set to have knee surgery in Florida to reconstruct an anterior cruciate ligament torn in practice a week ago. Dr. James Andrews will perform the Tuesday operation.

The ACL is typically projected to take a minimum of six months to heal, which puts Ingram in late November as a best-case scenario. That does not include the period required for an athlete to return to game readiness.

While San Diego is preparing to be without the pass rusher for all of the 2013 season, officially signing veteran pass rusher Dwight Freeney on Monday, some at Chargers Park have not eliminated the possibility Ingram could salvage the final portion of his second NFL season. It is a credit to Ingram, they say, knowing his mindset, work ethic and athletic ability that they won't officially put it past him.

That being said, the Chargers certainly do not expect such a return from the former first-round pick.

They plan to be mindful of Ingram's long-term future when making any decision about his return to the field. Ingram's chances figure to expand if the Chargers have success in his absence, particularly if they play into January.