Saints' Jonathan Vilma Placed On IR With Return Tag
The New Orleans Saints have decided to place LB Jonathan Vilma on injured reserve with a designation to return, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. Being placed on this list means that Vilma will have to sit out of the first eight weeks of games and 6 weeks of practice, but he will be able to return after those time periods. Vilma had arthroscopic surgery on Aug. 15 after having problems with his knee.
This couldn't have been worse timing for the Saints, who have one of the shakiest defenses in the league already. They have already lost key players, with the most significant being OLB Will Smith.
Taking away a defensive captain in Jonathan Vilma for at least the first eight weeks doesn't help their chances under new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. David Hawthorne will fill in for Vilma at the linebacker position for at least the length of his outage. Through the first eight weeks, the Saints defense will take the field against offensive powerhouses such as the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons.
Vilma has been through a lot in his career since being drafted by the New York Jets in 2004 and being traded to the Saints in 2008 (including the accusations of the bounty scandal). He has been through knee injuries before: once in 2007 that was season-ending, and also in his high school years when he was diagnosed with a bone defect that causes problems with loose particles and instability in the joint.
Only one player can be given the "designated to return" label on a team, so the Saints are putting all their chips on Jonathan Vilma having a speedy recovery. Saints fans will be hoping for a positive outcome as well.