Patriots coach Bill Belichick confirmed on Monday afternoon that defensive tackle and five-time Pro Bowl player Vince Wilfork will likely miss the remainder of the season with an injury.
"It doesn't look too good for Vince," Belichick told WEEI's Salk & Holley on Monday. "He's got a pretty serious injury and it's probably unlikely that he'll be able to play again this year."
The Patriots announced that Wilfork had an ankle injury during the game, and he was scene leaving the Georgia Dome after the game with his lower leg in a walking boot. The Globe's Shalise Manza Young reported Wilfork tore his Achilles' tendon during the first half of the Patriots' win over the Falcons.
"We're very disappointed for Vince," Belichick said. "He's worked very hard to prepare for the season. He's a true professional. Gives us great leadership on and off the field. Great example for the younger players as well as the veteran players.
"He's got a real commitment to the team and to winning," the coach continued. "It's unfortunate. You hate to see it."
Belichick said the Patriots are exploring options to make up for the loss of Wilfork.
"Clearly there are no Vince Wilforks just standing out there on the corner looking to sign with the Patriots or some other NFL team. He's a special player. One of the very best at his position. There's no way you would replace him with one player. That's totally unrealistic."
New England rookie Joe Vellano sacked Atlanta's Matt Ryan, but New England is thin at the defensive tackle position.