The Los Angeles Chargers safety will be placed on IR ahead of Week 1, the team said in a press release Thursday.
James underwent successful surgery Thursday to address a stress fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his foot, the Chargers added. The surgery was performed by Dr. Robert Anderson in Green Bay, Wis.
It was reported Saturday that James would undergo surgery on his injured foot and was likely to miss three months. That would peg his return as sometime in November. A player placed on injured reserve to start the season cannot be activated until after Week 8, when the team can designate up to two players to return to the active roster. If and when James is designated to return, his first potential appearance could come in L.A.'s Week 9 matchup with the Green Bay Packers on Nov. 3.
The Chargers claimed James with the No. 17 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft and he immediately became a defensive anchor. James recorded 105 tackles, three interceptions, 13 passes defended and 3.5 sacks to earn Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors. The latter made him one of eight rookie defenders to make first-team All-Pro since the 1970 merger, per NFL Research.
Los Angeles is expected to lean on defensive back Adrian Phillips to fulfill some of James' duties, though the safety insists he won't be "stepping into this position to be anything that Derwin was."
"When you start thinking you're replacing somebody or you have to live up to what somebody else has done," Phillips said this week, "that's when all the bad stuff starts to happen."