New England Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo is not expected to play again this season after undergoing surgery for a torn pectoral muscle Tuesday according to a league source.

Yahoo! Sports earlier reported Mayo's condition.

Mayo a team captain was injured in the fourth quarter of the Patriots' 30-27 victory against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. He was spotted leaving Gillette Stadium with his right arm in a sling.

One of the Patriots' few defenders in the front seven who plays on all downs the six-year veteran also had the important job of leading the team's defensive huddle getting the play call in from the sideline and relaying it to teammates. Mayo is a two-time Pro Bowler and was a 2010 first-team All-Pro selection who has led the Patriots in tackles in each of his first five seasons with the club.

In the Patriots' base 4-3 defense Mayo has mostly played the weak side with Brandon Spikes in the middle and Dont'a Hightower on the strong side. Rookie Jamie Collins the Patriots' top draft choice (52nd overall) is a leading candidate to step in for Mayo. Four-year veteran Dane Fletcher whose primary contributions have come on special teams is another option.

Meanwhile Hightower is the top choice to lead the huddle on early downs (he did so Sunday after Mayo left with injury) but because he sometimes doesn't play in sub packages the Patriots might consider other possibilities for that role.