ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. After starting safeties Charles Godfrey and Quintin Mikell limped through the visitors locker room on crutches, each with his right foot in a protective boot, defensive back D.J. Moore walked in with his left knee in a brace.
The Panthers lost three starting defensive backs in Sunday’s 24-23 loss to Buffalo, but Moore was thought to be one of the healthy ones. It turned out Moore sprained a knee ligament early in the second half, but stayed in the game.
“The way I felt running out there, it didn’t feel good,” Moore said. “I knew we didn’t have anybody left.”
It was that kind of day for a depleted secondary.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Godfrey’s Achilles injury was the worst of the bunch. Godfrey would not say whether the Achilles was torn, but two of his teammates said they thought he was done for the season.
“The docs have to look at it and let me know,” Godfrey said. “They said they’re going to look at the X-rays a little bit more when we get back.”
Losing Godfrey would be a blow to a secondary considered the defense’s trouble spot. Godfrey has started 74 games over the past five-plus seasons, and had eight tackles in a Week 1 loss to Seattle.
Godfrey was injured in the third quarter breaking up a pass in the end zone intended for Stevie Johnson. He said he didn’t feel anything in his Achilles, but knew it was bad when he tried to stand up.
“When I got back up and started walking a little bit more, I said, ‘Man, it’s probably a good idea that I go down,’” said Godfrey, who was carted off the field.
Cornerback Josh Thomas left the game in the first half with a concussion and did not return. Mikell went out with a sprained right ankle in the second half.
Corner Josh Norman, who replaced Thomas, left for part of a series with a thigh injury but returned to finish the game. Add in the knee sprain to Moore, and the Panthers were down to just a couple of healthy players in the secondary.
“That’s a first,” Norman said. “I’ve never been in anything like that before, where one goes down after the other.”
But Godfrey said the Panthers can’t dwell on the injuries.
“What happened to me, it’s out of my control. Just roll with the punches,” Godfrey said. “Everybody will be fine. We’ll step up.”
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