Colts outside linebacker Robert Mathis was scheduled for surgery Thursday in Atlanta on his torn Achilles tendon.
Coach Chuck Pagano shared the update as part of his news conference at the team complex. The team revealed Monday that Mathis had suffered the injury during a workout last week in his hometown.
Mathis, suspended the first four games after testing positive for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, was permitted to travel to Indianapolis Tuesday to meet with team medical personnel to evaluate the injury.
The need for surgery confirms what had been speculated, that the Colts’ all-time sack leader and 2013 NFL sack champion will miss the season. Mathis, 33, is expected to be placed on injured reserve. A general timetable for this type of injury is 10 months to one year, but there’s uncertainty on how quickly he can recover due to his age.
Pagano wasn’t clear on all of the details of the situation involving the 12th-year pro and six-time Pro Bowl star.
“I think that all went down,” Pagano said of Mathis returning to the complex Tuesday. “Last I heard, he was supposed to have surgery today back in Atlanta. I think the guys got a chance to look at him and confirm what we thought the injury was.
“Again, I haven’t heard back for sure but I think today was the day he was supposed to have surgery down there.”
In addition to losing Mathis, the Colts (0-1) had to subtract reserve outside linebacker Cam Johnson from the equation due to a triceps injury. Johnson was placed on IR on Tuesday.
“It’s going to be a collaborative effort, if you will,” Pagano said, when asked if rookie defensive end Jonathan Newsome takes Johnson’s spot on the depth chart. “‘News’ can play the Sam or the Rush (LB), Andy Studebaker has played inside some for us, he’s played the Rush and the Sam. We’ll get him some work there.”
The Colts had only one sack by outside linebacker Erik Walden in Sunday night’s 31-24 opening loss at Denver. The pass rush has been a continual concern. The team maintains optimism about second-year outside linebacker Bjoern Werner, who had three tackles but didn’t make any impact plays rushing the passer against the Broncos.
“(Werner) has got to play his game,” Pagano said. “Everybody on the entire defense has got to step up and raise their level of play. Again, you don’t replace a guy like Robert.”
Mathis had 19.5 sacks last season to boost his career total to 111. More than that, he’s considered a team leader along with 14th-year wide receiver Reggie Wayne.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.