FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Tearing an Achilles tendon is a tough injury to come back from for any athlete. It poses an even greater challenge for a massive lineman who has advanced past the age of 30.
Speaking for the first time since suffering the season-ending injury to his right foot in Week 4 against Atlanta, Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said Tuesday night he was progressing in his recovery and for those who think he won’t make it back, think again.
“I’ll be back. There’s no question in my mind. That’s not even a question,” Wilfork said. “People can worry about it. But not me. I’ll be back.”
Wilfork said he was doing well, and expected to be out of his walking boot in a week.
Naturally, he’s hated every minute being on the sideline, and having to watch the games.
“It’s always frustrating. The only thing I do, the only thing I know how to do is play football. And I can’t do it right now,” he said. “But things happen for a reason. The only thing I can do is prepare each day and try and get better with the rehab, and that’s what I’ve been doing. Take it day by day and hopefully, I’ll get healthy soon.”
Wilfork is still taking part, watching film and helping his teammates whenever he can.
“Whatever they see fit for what I can do, that’s what I try to do to help. If it’s me coming around to see the guys, or having the guys talk with me, or if it’s watching film with the guys, that’s what I’ll do,” he said. “I’m still part of (the team). Sometimes I feel like I’m not because I’m not out there with them, but I’ll stay a part of them. I want these guys to feel the same about me.”
Wilfork called the Patriots a bunch of “fighters” given the way they’ve showed resilience in wake of all the injuries.
Good news on Gronk
There is some optimism surrounding the recovery of Rob Gronkowski.
The injured tight end has been told he should be ready for the start of the 2014 season, according to a source. His surgery to repair a torn ACL and MCL is expected to be performed by Dr. James Andrews in two weeks.
Andrews was used as a consultant while Gronkowski worked his way back to the field this season following his recovery from forearm and back surgeries.
Gronkowski has already a long list of surgeries on his resume, as this is expected to be his eighth, with four on his forearm, two on his back, and one on his ankle.
The tight end shredded his knee against the Browns during the Week 14 win when safety T.J. Ward barreled into his right leg during a 21-yard gain.
Options in the huddle
Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels stood by his calls in the red zone during Sunday’s 24-20 loss to Miami. He also factored Tom Brady into the equation.
“It’s a tough one because a lot of times, we have multiple options in the huddle,” McDaniels said. “Sometimes you end up with the perfect balance and the perfect blend when you do that. Sometimes the defense, when you get to certain things against a certain look, sometimes you can get a little skewed and we don’t want to take the freedom away from our quarterback to take us into a good play. We certainly don’t want to become just a call-it-on-the-sideline team when we have a quarterback that’s capable of doing a lot of good things with our offense at the line of scrimmage.”
So a lot of the calls may have been dictated by what Brady was seeing from the defense.