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New England Patriots' Jerod Mayo has pectoral surgery

Entering the 2013 season, nose tackle Vince Wilfork and linebacker Jerod Mayo widely were viewed as the New England Patriots' two most indispensable defensive players.

Now the team might be without both of them for the rest of the season.

Wilfork already has been shelved by Achilles tendon surgery. Mayo underwent surgery Tuesday to repair a torn pectoral muscle sustained in Week 6, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. A source informed of the injury told Rapoport that Mayo is viewed as a longshot to play this season.

Yahoo! Sports first reported the news. 

Mayo's surgery is typically season-ending in nature, as evidenced by a similar injury to Chicago Bears middle linebacker D.J. Williams last week.

Losing Mayo would be a major blow to coach Bill Belichick's defense.

The two-time Pro Bowl selection was leading the team with 55 tackles at the time of the injury. He's the defensive leader, an every-down player and the only starting linebacker capable of hanging with tight ends and running backs in coverage.

Sunday's last-second victory over the previously undefeated New Orleans Saints was a costly one for New England. In addition to Mayo, the Patriots also saw wide receiver Danny Amendola (head), guard Dan Connolly (head) and cornerback Aqib Talib (hamstring) go down with injuries.

The Patriots are a surprising fourth in scoring defense through six games. With Wilfork, Mayo and perhaps Talib sidelined, that ranking figures to slide over the next few weeks against the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers.

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