UPDATED 6:53 p.m.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. Throughout the preseason, the Redskins stressed the improvement of their depth chart and they were right. The roster was more prepared to handle injuries during the course of a 16-game schedule.
But this many?
A banged-up Redskins team that started the game Sunday against Carolina without four starters sustained further damage during a 33-20 loss at Bank of America Stadium.
Running back Tim Hightower (left knee), receiver Santana Moss (broken left hand) and linebacker London Fletcher (hamstring) were unable to finish the game.
Hightower left the Redskins locker room wearing a large brace and with the use of crutches. A soft cast and wrap had already been applied to Moss injury.
Those who missed the game were safety Oshiomogho Atogwe (knee), tight end Chris Cooley (finger) and left tackle Trent Williams (knee). Left guard Kory Lichtensteiger (knee) is out for the season.
Injuries happen, and good teams have depth that when guys step in, you cant miss a beat, said Reed Doughty, who filled in for Atogwe. Ive been the back-up; I am the back-up. You have to come in and play at a high level and give your team an opportunity to win the game.
Hightower appears to be the most serious of the new injuries.
After not playing a snap last week, Hightower started and rushed 15 times for 78 yards (5.2 average) in the first half. But on the third quarters second series, he tried to miss a defender and his knee hit the ground awkwardly. Before he even stopped rolling, Hightower grabbed the knee.
Moments later, he tried to put pressure on the leg and tried to hop off the field before he was assisted. He was examined by team consultant Dr. James Andrews.
The X-rays were negative, so thats a good thing, Hightower said. Im disappointed we lost its not about me, its about us losing. The most disappointing part was that I couldnt help my team win.
Ryan Torain and Roy Helu split the work in Hightowers absence.
They dont know the severity for sure, coach Mike Shanahan said. It wasnt one of those, Hey, this is just a sprained knee. Its pretty sore. Im hoping its not an ACL or something very serious.
Moss was injured away from the play in the first half and didnt return.
I know how this game is, so I dont let this stuff rattle me, he said. I dont like missing nothing. Ill get it healed up and bounce back.
Moss has missed only four games since joining the Redskins in 2005, but Shanahan all but ruled him out for next week.
Get it healed up and bounce back, Moss said. All I can tell you about is that its broke.
Moss goes out just as Anthony Armstrong was returning from a two-game absence with a hamstring injury.
Moss absence created a chance for rookie Niles Paul, who started the game and caught his first two NFL passes (for 25 yards).
Fletcher, normally the iron man of the Redskins defense, missed his first snaps of the season when he was shut down in the fourth quarter and replaced by Keyaron Fox.
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