New England Patriots star Vince Wilfork has vowed to come back fitter and stronger than ever, as he steps up his recovery from the torn Achilles injury suffered in late September, reports NFL.com.
The 32-year-old defensive lineman has been a big miss for the Boston-based franchise, as Bill Belichick also has to cater for the loss of linebacker Jerod Mayo.
The Patriots are still in the drivers seat for the AFC's second seed, but have seen their playoff hopes suffer a setback because of a succession of injuries to their roster on both sides of the ball.
Before Wilfork was sidelined by injury New England had held opponents to fewer than 100 yards on the ground in two of their first four games, but in his absence have managed to replicate that feat only once in 10 outings, with an average of 417 yards over their past four games.
Thankfully for Patriots fans, they'll be boosted by the return of the defensive tackle, who is in positive spirits ahead of his latest rehab.
"I'll be back. There's no question in my mind. That's not even a question," Wilfork was quoted saying on Tuesday night, by the Boston Herald.
"People can worry about it. But not me. I'll be back."
Reflecting on his lengthy period away from regular NFL action, the University of Miami graduate added: "It's always frustrating.
"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."