An already decimated Miami Dolphins secondary took another hit Sunday when starting free safety Renaldo Hill sustained a season-ending knee injury in the second quarter of the team's 49-28 loss to the New England Patriots.
Hill, who had started all seven games this season, tore the anterior cruciate ligament of his right knee while attempting to defend against a pass. His agent confirmed the diagnosis to the Miami Herald. Hill will be placed on injured reserve later in the week.
Miami is already playing without starting safety Yeremiah Bell, who suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in the first game of the year.
Dolphins' defensive coordinator Dom Capers has been forced to shuffle safeties all season because of injuries. On Sunday, the Dolphins used Cameron Worrell, a special teams player for most of his career, at safety. He was repeatedly victimized by the Patriots' passing game.
The Dolphins a few weeks ago signed veteran free agent safeties Donovin Darius and Lamont Thompson, but subsequently released both of them. The personnel department may have to seek out some more able-bodied safeties now.
Hill, 28, started all 16 games for the Dolphins in 2006, after signing as a free agent, and played well, posting 83 tackles. Even this year, amid the chaos in the secondary, he had at least provided a bit of a stabilizing element.
A seventh-round draft pick of Arizona in the 2001 draft, Hill played four seasons for the Cardinals (2001-2004), before moving to Oakland for one season (2005), and then to Miami last year. In 94 games, he has 382 tackles, 4½ sacks, 12 interceptions and 47 passes defensed.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.