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Jonathan Vilma injury: Saints LB placed on IR-designated to return

Jonathan Vilma will miss at least the first eight weeks of the season, but could return later in the year.

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Jamie Squire

Still hampered by a knee injury, Jonathan Vilma was placed on injured reserve with the designation to return on Tuesday. The Saints announced the move, which will cause Vilma to miss at least the first eight weeks of the regular season.

More on Vilma and the Saints: Canal Street Chronicles

Vilma battled knee injuries in recent seasons, although he came to training camp feeling good. In July, Vilma said he was a lot better physically than he was in 2012, when he opened the season on the physically unable to perform list. Knee issues, however, cropped up once again and Vilma had a knee scope in the middle of August. Vilma was initially expected to return in time for the season opener, but that timeline has now been pushed back significantly.

Although he may not be the player he once was, the 31-year-old Vilma was still expected to play a role on the Saints defense, especially with linebacker Victor Butler out for the year due to an ACL injury. Vilma can return to practice following Week 6 and will be eligible to be activated after Week 8.

If he's healthy enough to return, Vilma could be activated for a Week 9 matchup against the New York Jets, the team he spent the first four years of his career with.

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