Safety Donte Whitner is out indefinitely with a separated right shoulder, leaving the Bills without their vocal leader and most versatile defensive back.
Coach Dick Jauron on Monday would only list Whitner as out on a week-to-week basis, while noting the injury was "fairly significant." The injury comes at a terrible time for the suddenly reeling Bills (5-3), who have dropped three of four and play at New England (5-3) on Sunday in a critical matchup between AFC East rivals.
Whitner was hurt during the Jets' decisive fourth-quarter drive, which ended with Jay Feely's 31-yard field goal sealing New York's 26-17 victory on Sunday.
Though it's not clear when Whitner was hurt, he left the field holding his right arm midway through the drive. He returned for a few plays before he left for good, going to the sideline and slumping in pain.
Whitner had difficulty getting dressed after the game and didn't say anything as team officials escorted him past reporters on the way to the Bills' medical room.
Selected eighth overall out of Ohio State in the 2006 draft, Whitner has been a three-year starter and made 100 tackles in each of his first two seasons. In eight games this season, he's been credited with 40 tackles, two forced fumbles and a sack.
Whitner has been used at several positions, including nickel back to fill in after cornerback Terrence McGee missed two games last month.