LOS ANGELES -- The Chargers' worst fears were confirmed Saturday when they learned Derwin James will be sidelined deep into the regular season.
The team's All-Pro second-year safety will undergo surgery next week to repair a stress fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his right foot.
A more definitive timeline should be known after the procedure, but James has been told he'll need a recovery time of three to four months.
Based on that projection, he'll be out at least until mid-November. The Chargers play Kansas City in Mexico City on Nov. 18 during Week 11.
They then have their bye and return for their 12th game of the season Dec. 1 at Denver. That date would mark roughly 3 1/2 months from surgery.
James was hurt Thursday during a joint practice in Costa Mesa with the New Orleans Saints.
Near the end of the training session, James intercepted a pass and then broke into an animated celebration with several of his teammates, offering no evidence that he was hurting.
"It happened at some point in practice ... but this could have been something all along and happened kind of slowly," coach Anthony Lynn said Friday. "Yesterday, it just came to a head. We're going to miss him while he's out. We're going to try to get him well and back on the field as soon as we can."
Adrian Phillips, a Pro Bowler on special teams, will replace James at strong safety on a Chargers defense that is expected to be among the league's best. James' extended absence will now test that defense's depth.
Phillips also plays linebacker in the team's dime package, meaning someone will have to take over strong safety in that alignment. Rayshawn Jenkins, who is projected to be the starter at free safety, is one possibility.