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Jonathan Vilma focused on rehab, cheering on his teammates

Posted Aug 16, 2013

Jonathan Vilma had knee surgery on Thursday in Philadelphia

Jonathan Vilma

New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma thanked fans for all the support he has received this week after having knee surgery in Philadelphia on Thursday.

“Thanks everyone for the well wishes,” Vilma tweeted early Friday morning. “Time to grind away at rehab then cheer my boys on tonight! #WhoDat” Jonathan Vilma

Vilma last participated in practice on Tuesday before flying out to Philadelphia for his procedure on Wednesday.

New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton did not provide a timetable for Vilma’s return after Thursday’s practice but added that Vilma’s absence gives the coaching staff more time and film to review the younger and less known linebackers.

“A guy like Jon Vilma, I know exactly what we have in that player,” said Payton. “So it gives us a chance to see not only David Hawthorne more, but if he is going earlier, then the guys behind him are getting to play quicker too.”

As a Saint, Vilma has started in 68 of 69 games played over five years. The three-time Pro Bowl selection has posted 528 tackles, eight sacks, six interceptions, seven fumble recoveries and five forced fumbles during that span.

Vilma has been voted by his teammates as a defensive team captain for the past four campaigns. Through an aggressive and ardent rehabilitation program last season, the former University of Miami (Fla.) standout made a successful return to the lineup in week six, as he transitioned to the weakside position in the remaining 11 games and posted 49 tackles (21 solo), one sack, one interception return for touchdown and three passes defensed.