It’s not the same injury that knocked him out of his last season with the Jets.
But Fallon’s Josh Mauga finds himself traveling memory lane after suffering an Achilles heel injury during preseason last month with the Kansas City Chiefs. Mauga has missed the last two preseason games as the Chiefs competed in their last tune-up on Thursday before the regular season opener.
And even though someone else has been taking the reps in Mauga’s place, defensive coordinator Bob Sutton isn’t worried about his future.
“Well, I think the negative when somebody gets hurt is that they miss valuable reps and one of the hardest things is to work on your unit, you do have different players playing at different times even when you have this first group or second group in, you still evaluate players,” Sutton told the team website this week. “But the positive side of an injury like Josh’s that set him back a little bit, is that a another guy gets more reps and more opportunities for us to see. In the end, we make the assumption that Josh is going to come back all the way full strength and it’s going to make us a better team.”
Mauga is expected to return to the team but the bigger question is when. In the meantime, though, the Chiefs have been giving rookie Ramik Wilson some action at inside linebacker.
“We all know to make it through an NFL season, you need a little depth,” Sutton added. “We’ve made no decision on our starting players and all that. We’re anticipating Josh coming back, Josh played close to 1,100 plays last year so Ramik (Wilson)’s got about 800 more plays to go to catch him. We’d love to have him, don’t get me wrong, just to have the reps, but we’re not as concerned as if he hadn’t played.”
Sutton, though, said this scenario could have been different if Mauga was in his first year with the team and unproven to his new set of coaches. Luckily for the ex-Greenwave and Wolf Pack star, his job appears to be waiting for him when he’s back.
“If this would’ve been a year ago when Josh had sat out the previous year, that would have been a major concern,” Sutton said.
Head coach Andy Reid doesn’t want to rush Mauga’s return, considering his history of injuries while at Nevada and then with the Jets.
“Josh Mauga did a little bit, then we pulled back on him,” Reid said about Mauga practicing last week. “He’s making progress, but we’ve gradually brought him back, here, at the beginning of the practices over the last couple of days with that Achilles inflammation.”
After finishing the regular season on Thursday, Kansas City will prepare for Houston on the road on Sept. 13 to open the season. Four days later, the Chiefs host the Broncos on Thursday Night Football in their home opener.