Vince Wilfork injury: Patriots star carted off with injured right ankle

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots have lost their best defensive player to injury, at least temporarily.

Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork was carted off the field during the first quarter of New England's Week 4 matchup against the Falcons in Atlanta. Wilfork suffered an apparent right ankle injury during the early moments of Sunday night's game and a return has been ruled out, according to NBC's Michele Tafoya.

The veteran planted awkwardly on a pass rush attempt and was sidelined immediately following the play. After doctors examined him on the sideline, it was determined that he would be carted to the locker room.

Wilfork_medium

The injury is to Wilfork's right ankle and a long absence could really hurt the Patriots. Rookie Joe Vellano is listed as Wilfork's direct backup at defensive tackle. Vellano was signed as undrafted free agent this summer by the Patriots and has appeared in all four games this season.

The Falcons currently lead the Patriots 10-10 in the middle of the third quarter.

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