It appears that Chiefs starting inside linebacker Joe Mays could be out for a while.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Sunday that Mays, who missed Saturday’s exhibition loss to Minnesota, had wrist surgery to repair ligament damage in his wrist.
Mays suffered the injury a week ago in the Chiefs’ 28-16 exhibition loss to Carolina.
“I don’t think it’s a short period of time here,” Reid said, when asked how long Mays will be out. “I don’t know exactly how long it’s going to be … (it) could be a while. I would put it in the same category or even a little longer than a broken bone.”
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Reid declined to give a timetable for Mays’ return, but David J. Chao, a former NFL team physician for 17 years who has not examined Mays, said that depending on the severity of the injury, Mays could indeed be out for a while.
“By definition this was a significant wrist ligament injury because it required surgery,” Chao said. “Most wrist ligament injuries don’t. If they were able to get a solid repair, he could return early with a cast and or pins. If he sustained more substantial damage, he could be an injured reserve or injured reserve with a designation to return candidate.”
Chao added that he knows the Chiefs’ doctors well and is confident they will do what’s best for Mays.
If worst comes to worst, the Chiefs may need to find a replacement for Mays, which means they could be seeking additional depth as the first round of roster cuts looms Tuesday.
Still, the club got a good look at its in-house options Saturday.
Nico Johnson got the start in Mays’ place, perhaps because of his run-stopping ability, which is Mays’ greatest asset. It is interesting that Johnson spent almost the entire training camp on the third team.
James-Michael Johnson, who has been ahead of Nico Johnson all camp, also played inside linebacker Saturday, as did Frank Zombo, who shifted over from outside linebacker.
“We’re using Frank in both areas and we started doing that up at St. Joe’s,” Reid said.
Josh Mauga, who was also ahead of Nico Johnson all camp, did not play Saturday because of a shoulder injury.