Vince Wilfork injury: Torn Achilles could cost Patriots DT rest of season

Elsa

New England took a serious hit Sunday when they lost their best defensive lineman for what could be the rest of the year.

The New England Patriots beat the Atlanta Falcons to stay undefeated on Sunday night, but suffered a huge loss in another department. Nose tackle Vince Wilfork went down early with a torn Achilles tendon, according to Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe, and will likely not be seeing the field again anytime soon.

The big man went down awkwardly in the first quarter and did not return. There hasn't been official word on how long Wilfork will be out with the injury, but his season will likely come to a close only four games in to this year's campaign.

Wilfork_medium

Without Wilfork to eat up blockers in the middle, New England will be forced to either go to the waiver wire for answers or look further down the depth chart. Tommy Kelly is going to be the first man up if the Patriots fill the position internally with rookie Joe Vellano behind him.

As Greg Knopping of Pats Pulpit points out, nobody will be replacing the five-time Pro Bowler:

To say this is a major blow to the Patriots defense would be a major understatement.  Wilfork is the heart of this unit - a unit that has seen vast improvements to start the season.  Without Wilfork clogging the middle, the Patriots become much more vulnerable up the middle.

Wilfork amassed 48 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries last season.

More from SB Nation NFL:

Watch: The sad Jets are back

NFL Week 4 scores, injuries and GIFs | Pats win, Belichick tries to smile

Reggie Bush's amazing TD run | Glee star celebrates brother's TD

Flacco throws 5 elite INTs vs. Bills | Bills blog: Buffalo Rumblings

Watch Gene Simmons sing the National Anthem in London

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.