FOXBOROUGH — Vince Wilfork was pursuing a play when he planted his right foot, dropped to the ground and probably ended his season.
“It doesn’t look too good for Vince,” New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick said yesterday on WEEI radio. “I think he’s got a pretty serious injury and it’s probably unlikely that he’ll be able to play again this year.”
The Boston Globe reported that the star defensive tackle tore his right Achilles tendon in Sunday’s 30-23 win over the Atlanta Falcons. Belichick did not specify the injury. Wilfork’s agent, Kennard McGuire, did not respond to requests for comment.
At his news conference earlier yesterday, Belichick said he didn’t know much about Wilfork’s injury or whether he would miss most or all of the remaining games. He said he hadn’t met yet with medical personnel.
But as the injuries to key Patriots players pile up — Wilfork is a five-time Pro Bowl selection — so do the victories.
They’re 4-0 despite missing one of the NFL’s best tight ends, Rob Gronkowski, for all those games, as he recovers from forearm and back surgery, and their top wide receiver, Danny Amendola, for the last three with a groin injury.
“We always talk about next man up. We have a lot of talented guys on our team,” linebacker Jerod Mayo said. “Guys really stepped up and played well for us. We ended up getting the victory.”
When Wilfork left, undrafted rookie Joe Vellano stepped in and got a sack. And Chris Jones, cut by Houston and Tampa Bay after the Texans drafted him in the sixth round this year, saw his first action with the Patriots. So they’re thin at defensive tackle behind the other starter, Tommy Kelly.
“He has good instincts, kind of has a nose for the ball and a good feel for what’s going on,” Belichick said of Vellano. “He’s still got a long way to go but definitely making progress.”