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                   === Saints put Vilma on recallable IR ===
 
 Metairie,  LA (Sports  Network) -  The  New Orleans  Saints placed  linebacker
 Jonathan Vilma on the injured reserve/designated to return list as the veteran
 continues his recovery from a recent knee procedure.
 
 Vilma  underwent  arthroscopic surgery on one  of his knees in mid-August. The
 Saints  initially  believed the  nine-year pro  would be ready  to play in the
 team's Week 1 matchup against Atlanta this coming Sunday, but his progress has
 been slower than expected.
 
 Under  the terms  of  the  designated to  return  stipulation,  Vilma will  be
 eligible  to  resume practicing after  Week 6 and  can return for New Orleans'
 game at the New York Jets on Nov. 3 at the earliest.
 
 Vilma,  a defensive captain, has battled knee problems in each of the last two
 seasons.  He missed  five games  because of  injuries in  2011 and  began last
 season  on the  physically  unable to  perform  list while  on  the mend  from
 offseason surgery on his left knee.
 
 The  31-year-old, best  known for  receiving a  year-long suspension  from NFL
 commissioner  Roger Goodell  that  was later  rescinded for  his  role in  the
 Saints' purported bounty scandal, had 37 tackles, one sack and an interception
 in 11 games (10 starts) last season.
 
 David  Hawthorne  is expected  to  start  alongside  Curtis Lofton  at  inside
 linebacker in the Saints' 3-4 scheme with Vilma sidelined.
 
 
 
 
 
 09/03 19:18:22 ET