FOXBORO, Mass. — There’s a very good chance the New England Patriots will be without their two best defensive players moving forward.

First-round cornerback Christian Gonzalez, who was named Defensive Rookie of the Month after the first month of the season, is likely to miss the remainder of the season, as first reported by NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport on Wednesday. Meanwhile, star edge rusher Matthew Judon reportedly is out for at least two months after undergoing surgery after a torn biceps tendon.

The injuries to both stars took place during New England’s embarrassing Week 4 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on Sunday. While the initial reaction from Deatrich Wise was that of devastation, the reports that trickled out since have essentially confirmed the worst-case scenario.

“I mean, Judon is a staple for the organization,” Patriots linebacker Josh Uche said after Wednesday’s practice. “That’s my brother, one of my close friends.

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“It affects us, you know, the morale, the energy. But it’s all about the next man up. Same for Christian. He’s young, but he played a big part on our defense. We just have to rally around those guys, send our energy, send our love to them. We’ll miss them, but we’re trying to keep it going.”

It won’t be an easy task. Gonzalez was a favorite to win Defensive Rookie of the Year after limiting star receivers like A.J. Brown, Tyreek Hill and Garrett Wilson in his first few NFL games. He looked like a legitimate No. 1 cornerback and the Patriots now will have to move forward without him.

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Judon was arguably the best player on the team, as he was last season. The four-time Pro Bowler recorded four sacks in the first four games with nine quarterback hits and five tackles for loss.

“Those are two great players, but we play in a sport where injuries happen,” linebacker Jahlani Tavai said. “We’re praying for those guys, but right now we got a new opportunity for new guys to step up to the challenge and accept a new role. Not sure who it will be, but it’s next-man mentality.”

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The Patriots acquired cornerback J.C. Jackson from the Los Angeles Chargers on Wednesday. Jackson will return to where he spent his first four NFL seasons. He’ll be thrown into an impactful role with Jonathan Jones having missed the previous three games. New England’s cornerback group, headlined by Myles Bryant and Shaun Wade, was outclassed in Dallas.

Bill Belichick and company will get their first look at the defense without Judon and Gonzalez on Sunday. The Patriots welcome the New Orleans Saints to Gillette Stadium in Week 5 with kickoff set for 1 p.m. ET.

Featured image via Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports Images