Williams went down during the first half of Saturday's preseason game against the Chiefs.
Williams is known for being one of the tough guys around the locker room, so to hear him in so much pain was jarring for Shaw. Many of Williams teammates immediately got on one knee as athletic trainers tended to him, then gave him a pat on the shoulder as he was lifted into a cart.
"To hear him yelling like that, (I knew) it can't be good," Shaw said.
Added safety Derron Smith: "He was in a little bit of pain out there, so I definitely need to call him as soon as I leave here. ... We knew (immediately) that he was injured. It was hard to tell the severity of it."
The Bengals ruled Williams out of the game with a right elbow injury. According to Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com, Williams has a potentially serious injury that could make him a candidate to go on injured reserve and potentially return.
George Iloka is already out with a knee injury, so the depth has become dangerously thin, with only Clayton Fejedelem and Derron Smith healthy. That means Shaw, a hybrid safety/cornerback, will probably see a lot of time at safety.
Iloka said he and Williams have grown close, and he made sure to talk to him after the injury occurred.
"For that to happen, he's got to be crushed," Iloka said. "It's not what we wanted as a defense, as a team or as people who are just friends of his. But I told him to try to find some positive out of his because there's always light at the other side of the tunnel, and it's nothing he can't come back from and bounce back, whenever he comes back."
"Next man has to be ready. Same thing applies when I got hurt."