Chiefs inside linebacker Joe Mays will have wrist surgery, a source confirmed to The Star on Thursday.
Mays, 29, injured his wrist during the first half of the Chiefs’ 28-16 exhibition loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. It’s unclear how long Mays will be out.
Mays, who signed to a two-year, $6 million contract, hasn’t practiced with the Chiefs this week. He was brought in to start in the base defense next to star inside linebacker Derrick Johnson, and is an experienced veteran who is regarded as solid against the run.
Mays’ injury could provide opportunities for 2013 fourth-round pick Nico Johnson, third-year pro James-Michael Johnson and veteran Josh Mauga.
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Mauga, who was signed at the beginning of training camp, had gotten most of the second-team work in camp next to James-Michael Johnson, with Nico Johnson on the third team.
But Mauga has been battling a shoulder injury for the better part of a week, and Nico Johnson has taken increased reps with the first team next to Derrick Johnson.