The New Orleans Saints on Tuesday announced that inside linebacker Jonathan Vilma had been placed on injured reserve/designated to return, which means the team can bring the veteran back to the active roster later this season.
Vilma has been recovering from a knee procedure he had performed in Philadelphia the middle of August.
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.
the 31-year-old 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. He played for the Jets from 2004-2007 before being traded to the Saints.
New Orleans opens up the regular season on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.