It appears Joe Mays, one of the Chiefs’ starting inside linebackers, 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.
He 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.”
Reid declined to give a timetable for Mays’ return, but Dr. David J. Chao, a former NFL team physician for 17 years who has not examined Mays, says 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 the player.
But in the meantime, if worst comes to worst, the Chiefs may need to find a replacement for Mays, which means the Chiefs could be seeking additional depth as the first round of roster cuts loom Tuesday.
Still, the club got a good look at its in-house options on Saturday, as it used Nico Johnson, James-Michael Johnson and even outside linebacker Frank Zombo at inside linebacker.
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 entirety of training camp on the third team.
James-Michael Johnson, who has been ahead of Nico Johnson all camp, also played inside linebacker on 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.
* Reid said the Chiefs will likely make some roster moves Monday, as teams need to cut their rosters down from 90 to 75 players by 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Sources told The Star on Sunday that two players, tight end Adam Schiltz and cornerback Vernon Kearney, have already been cut.
Schiltz, 24, is listed at 6 feet 4 and 245 pounds. He was signed in July to bolster a tight end group that had just lost Sean McGrath to retirement. He did not record a catch in three preseason games.
Kearney, 25, is listed at 6 feet 2 and 185 pounds. He was signed to the Chiefs’ practice squad last October and signed to a reserve-futures contract during the offseason. He had one tackle in three preseason games.
* Safety Eric Berry will try to practice some this week, Reid said. Berry missed the first three preseason games because of a heel injury.
“I think he will do a little bit and try it out this week and see how it feels,” Reid said. “I think he feels pretty good right now, but I told you that before and it kind of came back on him. We’ve tried to rest him here an extended period of time, a little longer than we have before. We’ll just see how he comes out of it.”
Undrafted rookie safety Daniel Sorensen has started all three games in Berry’s absence.
* Reid typically doesn’t play his starters in the fourth preseason game. That means the Chiefs’ first-teamers will likely sit for the preseason finale Thursday night at Green Bay.
“Traditionally I’ve gone with the 2’s and 3’s in that game and tried to get our final evaluation done on those guys where they get an extended period of time, in some cases get to start, and just see how they do,” Reid said. “But I can’t say that there won’t be a starter here and there.”