Gold Coast's ambitions of playing NRL finals football suffered a massive blow with their defeat by Melbourne compounded by a heavy injury toll which includes the loss of prop Luke Bailey for the season.
The 32-year-old suffered a suspected ruptured achilles tendon just eight minutes into the 24-16 loss at AAMI Park.
Ashley Harrison didn't make it to halftime with a gluteus injury while Greg Bird, just back from a hamstring problem, damaged rib cartilage.
The trio will undergo scans on Monday.
"He's definitely (hurt his) achilles, to the extent (I don't know)," Cartwright said of Bailey.
"He's got no power in it and it's not good.
"(I'm) shattered for him because you know him well and you know what's going through his head.
"The poor bloke doesn't deserve it, no one does, but especially him.
"He's going to be missed over the next three weeks that's for sure."
Despite the decimation of their bench, the ninth-placed Titans toiled hard but couldn't resist a Storm fightback Gold Coast skipper Scott Prince likened to an avalanche. Cartwright said he tried not to think about the mathematical equation of making the play-offs.
"It doesn't occupy our thoughts," he said.
"You can't let that worry you, there's too many other things to worry about without worrying about mathematics.
"If we play well and we win footy games, if six points gets us in well it gets us in."
Meanwhile, Storm coach Craig Bellamy was none too pleased with their opening 40 minutes and admitted he lost his cool at halftime after they trailed 10-0.
He said if his side delivered that standard of football in the finals, they wouldn't last long.
"We're doing it right for 40 minutes and that's about it.
"Why we can't do it for 60 or even 70 minutes I don't know," Bellamy said.
"You do that in three or four week's time and we're going to be finishing early."
Winger Mahe Fonua became the first Victorian-born and raised player to make his first-grade debut with the Storm but Bellamy said he was no certainty to play against Brisbane on Friday night, with experienced duo Anthony Quinn and Dane Nielsen pushing for a return.