Free safety Charles Godfrey suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in Sunday's loss at Buffalo, the Carolina Panthers confirmed Monday.
Godfrey has a torn right Achilles tendon and will require surgery. He will be placed on injured reserve and miss the remainder of the 2013 season.
Godfrey was injured breaking up a pass intended for Stevie Johnson of the Bills, who later caught the game-winning score from EJ Manuel in Buffalo's 24-23 victory. Godfrey said he didn't feel anything unusual in his Achilles on the third-quarter play, but knew immediately when he stood up that the injury was serious.
Godfrey has started 74 career games and moved from strong safety to free safety in 2012.
"Since then he's played about as well as you would like to have a free safety play," coach Ron Rivera said. "He's put himself in position to make plays and he's done the type of things you need to do to have success.
"The thing you've seen is his growth. You see him doing things that a veteran defensive player is supposed to do - giving false reads, giving bad reads to an opponent and disguising his coverages by moving in and out of coverages."
His injury is just one of the major concerns for coach Ron Rivera and the Panthers ahead of their Week 3 game against the New York Giants.
Four other defensive backs were hurt Sunday. Quintin Mikell (foot), Josh Thomas (concussion), Josh Norman (thigh) and DJ Moore (knee) will be evaluated Wednesday, Rivera said.
Moore and Norman are expected to be available barring setbacks or swelling on the player's off day Tuesday. Moore could be the replacement for Godfrey, depending on Mikell's availability.
However, Moore isn't a sure thing. He said he returned to Sunday's game with a "knee sprain" because he knew the Panthers "didn't have anybody left" to fill his spot.
That would leave the Panthers to turn to inexperienced cornerbacks to contend with Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, the Giants' top two wide receivers.