UPDATE: Bill Belichick was doing a radio interview and had this to say about Vince Wilfork's injury, per Mike Reiss of ESPN:
Bill Belichick on WEEI (re: Wilfork): "It's probably unlikely that he'll be able to play again this year."
Even with the slight hedging, this pretty much confirms that we've probably seen the last of Vince for the season.
The Patriots did not get long to savor the huge win against the Atlanta Falcons before reports started to trickle out that Vince Wilfork, the defensive stalwart who the Patriots run their defense through, would most likely miss the rest of the season with a torn Achilles tendon.
But because this is Bill Belichick, and he is not going to divulge anything until he is darn well and ready to, the Patriots head coach did not confirm or deny that Wilfork had a season ending injury, per ProFootballTalk:
Q: As far as you know now, does Vince Wilfork have a torn Achilles?
BB: I really don’t have a lot of information here. Like I said, we got back late last night. I know they’re going to look at him and do some tests this morning and that’s really about all I know. I haven’t heard any more about that. I’m not sure exactly what the status of that is. That’s pretty common after every game. We get back here late off the road and then guys come in and they, whatever the injury is, they either get it treated or sometimes get it looked at in a little more detail with a test or whatever, whatever the case might be, whatever our medical department decides they need and then we go from there.
Now, this almost certainly does not mean that Wilfork is fine, or that the initial diagnosis of a torn Achilles is wrong. This is more or less Bill saying that time and patience will tell, and that Vince will go through the same procedures as everyone else to diagnose the issue and find a proper medical solution. The sky is not falling and no one is going to pull emergency levers because the team loses a guy to injury (even one as prominent and important as Vince Wilfork). This is just as much about not giving any information away before you have to as it is about steadying the ship after a big blow.
Belichick also had some great words for Joe Vellano, the two defensive tackle who will step in for Vince.
“Joe is a hard working kid,” Belichick said. “He was a productive player in college and he played a lot of spots at Maryland. He played end, he played tackle, he played some on the nose. He has good instincts, kind of has a nose for the ball and a good feel for what’s going on. He’s really worked hard to, of course, come in and as an undrafted player and earn a spot on the roster. He’s had an opportunity to get some playing time as we went through preseason and he took advantage of those opportunities, made a few plays, had some production and it probably led to a little bit more opportunity and so forth.
‘I think that there are a lot of things that he’s improved in, in terms of technique and recognition and reaction and all that. He’s still got a long way to go but definitely making progress. He works hard every day. He’s usually the first one on and the last one off the field or close to it. He puts in a lot of extra time, tries to get better at the things he needs to work on and that’s helped him.”
Hopefully, all that extra time has paid off, because Joe figures to get plenty of extra playing time for the foreseeable future.