Mays sustained the injury while blocking punt returner Trindon Holliday during the fourth quarter of the Broncos' 34-14 victory over the Saints when a Saints player accidentally leg-whipped him.
"We're going to miss Joe," teammate Wesley Woodyard said Monday. "Things definitely won't be the same without having him out there, his presence, his leadership, and his ability to go out there and make plays."
His season has been less than satisfactory after signing a three year, $12 million deal in the offseason. The fifth year pro had started four of Denver's first five games at middle linebacker, missing one after being suspended and fined $50,000 by the NFL for an illegal hit on the Houston Texans Matt Schaub in Week 3. He has played six games overall for the Broncos and totaled 19 tackles, 12 solo, and a half-sac. He lost his starting position two weeks ago to Keith Brooking after a poor game against the New England Patriots, relegating him to special teams duty.
"He didn't get down on himself. He continued to pick his teammates up and that's one thing you look for as a good teammate, whether throughout the tough times whether you're going to be the same person or you're going to be a different person," Woodyard said. "He was sad but he continued to work hard every day and he came out here and pushed everybody else, and that's the big thing we were proud about."
Brooking added "You hate to lose a guy that we were all counting on. He's been a very big part of this football team. The main things are for him just to keep his head up, keep fighting, believing and don't allow this to get him down. More than anything, it's just motivation for him to come back even better than he was before."
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