Los Angeles Chargers All-Pro safety Derwin James will have surgery on his right foot this week and could miss three months
Coach Anthony Lynn said Sunday after Los Angeles' 19-17 exhibition loss to New Orleans on Sunday that James has opted for surgery after receiving more evaluations the past couple days. He suffered a stress fracture of the fifth metatarsal of his right foot during Thursday's practice against the Saints.
James would likely be placed on injured reserve with a designation to return, meaning he could not be activated until after Week 8. If he is out the full three months, he would likely not be back until the final five games of the season.
This will be the second straight year the Chargers will go into the season without one of their top players on defense. Defensive end Joey Bosa missed the first nine games last season due to turf toe.
James quickly made an impact as a rookie last season. The 17th-overall pick led the team in tackles with 105 along with four interceptions, 3.5 sacks and 13 passes defensed. He had two sacks and an interception in the first three games, becoming the first rookie in a non-strike year since Dallas' Bill Bates in 1983 to accomplish that.
Adrian Phillips will take over at free safety while James is sidelined. Rayshawn Jenkins is also a possibility to move over from strong safety, but with second-round pick Nasir Adderley still trying to work his way back from a hamstring injury. Phillips and Jenkins both saw time at free safety during Sunday's game.
The Chargers are considered to be one of the AFC's favorites but have had a smooth training camp. Running back Melvin Gordon is holding out, left tackle Russell Okung is out due to blood clots, and wide receiver Keenan Allen is dealing with an ankle injury.