New England Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo will be watching Sunday's AFC Championship Game in Denver from the sideline, and if the Patriots win and advance to Super Bowl 50, he'll be watching from the sideline then, too.
The Patriots placed Mayo on the season-ending injured reserve (IR) Tuesday with an undisclosed shoulder injury. Mayo injured his shoulder in the third quarter of the divisional round matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, making this three straight seasons in a row Mayo's season has ended on IR.
The shoulder's wide range of motion can make it unstable and easily susceptible to injury. Shoulder instability is most common among young people and athletes, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center.
The shoulder consists of two main bones: the humerus (end of upper arm bone) and the scapula (shoulder blade), which are surrounded by a bag of muscles and ligaments. When muscles and ligaments are stretched beyond their limits, the shoulder becomes insecure, according to Rochester.
A shoulder separation, or sprain, varies in grade. The most severe is called a shoulder dislocation, which occurs when the ligaments holding the shoulder muscles to bones tear. The Patriots have not yet released any specific details about the characteristics of Mayo's injury.
Treatment generally includes rest, physical therapy or surgery.
Mayo, the 10th overall pick in the 2008 draft, appeared in all 16 regular-season games for the Patriots in 2015. He tallied 49 total tackles, a sack and a pass defended along with eight starts. Mayo has been dealing with the injury bug since his second Pro Bowl nod in 2012. He played just six combined games in both 2013 and 2014.
Fellow Patriot linebackers Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins are also tending to injuries heading into their Sunday afternoon matchup against Peyton Manning and the Broncos, making the linebacker position alarmingly slim.