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Phillip Gaines carted off as Buffalo Bills have injury concerns at short-staffed cornerback position

The Bills defense is in trouble.

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The Buffalo Bills, already thin at cornerback, have lost starting cornerback Phillip Gaines to an arm injury in the first quarter. After making a tackle, Gaines immediately signaled to the sideline and was eventually carted to the locker room.

To make matters worse, Gaines was starting at nickel cornerbback because rookie Taron Johnson was already sidelined with his own shoulder injury. Buffalo is now down to just three healthy cornerbacks on the field.

Replacing Gaines at slow corner is safety Rafael Bush, typically listed as Buffalo’s “Big Nickel”. He’s used to covering tight ends and running backs, not necessarily wide receivers.

Buffalo released cornerback Ryan Carter this week and brought him back to the practice squad. Tre’Davious White has been shadowing the top receiver against the Chargers with Vontae Davis on the other side. Lafayette Pitts is seeing more time than he probably should be as the team’s depth cornerback.