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Three Cardinals Starters Likely Done For Year

Linebacker Deone Bucannon, safety Tyvon Branch, right tackle Ulrick John injured in Miami


Cardinals right tackle Ulrick John (75) was the third player to suffer a siginificant injury against the Dolphins.

The Cardinals left Miami with a bruised ego on Sunday as their playoff shot disintegrated, but for three players it was worse than that.

Safety Tyvon Branch (groin), right tackle Ulrick John (shoulder) and money linebacker Deone Bucannon (ankle) are all expected to miss the rest of the season after suffering injuries in the 26-23 loss to the Dolphins, coach Bruce Arians said.

The Cardinals will need to plug those holes for the last three games as the roster continues to undergo significant change.

"Everybody's just got to step up," center A.Q. Shipley said. "That's part of the mantra around here, right? Next man up. We expect the same from the original guys as we do from them."

John, a backup, was playing right tackle because Jared Veldheer (triceps) was already lost for the season. D.J. Humphries also left Sunday's game against the Dolphins with a concussion, and if he can't play this week, the Cardinals would be down to their fourth and fifth offensive tackles.

"I might have to move out to left tackle this week," Shipley joked. "We'll see what happens. They said my arms are a little short for out there, but we'll see what happens."

While the changes may not be that extreme, the situation is far from ideal. John Wetzel would likely start on the left side, with practice squad rookie Givens Price an option at right tackle. Arians said the protection of Carson Palmer was subpar in Miami, not a surprise considering all the injuries the offensive line has suffered.

"Whenever we tried seven-step drop stuff, we were normally hurried," Arians said.

Bucannon suffered a high-ankle sprain early in the third quarter, and Arians said the team is deciding whether the injury needs surgery. Bucannon, who hasn't missed a game in three seasons, will likely be replaced in the starting lineup by Sio Moore, who started four games for the Colts earlier this season and was signed by the Cardinals on Nov. 22.

Zaviar Gooden got the first shot at replacing Bucannon against the Dolphins, but he gave up a touchdown on his third snap, and Moore played the rest of the game.

"He did a nice job, having just been here a couple weeks," Arians said. "He made the best of his opportunity."

Branch returned last week against the Redskins after a two-month injured-reserve stint with a groin injury, but tore it in the second half against the Dolphins. The Cardinals subsequently played without a nickel cornerback because cornerback Marcus Cooper (back) was hurt during the game and safety Tyrann Mathieu (shoulder) and Tharold Simon (ankle) were inactive.

Arians is hoping to see Mathieu at practice on Wednesday and get him back for the Saints on Sunday. Cooper's injury is day-to-day.

Some of the best images from the Week 14 game in Miami

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