He has now been ruled out of England's autumn Tests and is likely to miss next year's Six Nations, but he told The Times: "I'll nail one thing - the idea this might be the end of my playing career. Forget it. It's not a consideration."
And although Bates said it was a huge setback for the team, he was confident Wilkinson would return as strong as ever.
Falcons boss Bates laments Wilkinson loss
"It's a massive blow from our point of view as a team," he said.
"He was playing so well and looking as good as I've seen him - he was flying around and really enjoying his rugby.
"It's also a real blow for him as individual, he'd worked so hard to get back from his shoulder injury and after two or three weeks back, he's on the touchline for an extended period.
"But he'll be back, he's a fantastic professional who will look after himself during this period."
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.