Thursday, November 7, 2013

Saints place linebacker Jonathan Vilma on injured reserve

When he spoke to reporters in October about practicing for the first time since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery a couple of months earlier, Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma sounded certain about only one thing pertaining to his future.

He’d prefer to finish the last year of his contract with New Orleans on season-ending injured reserve if he discovered he hadn’t fully healed rather than risk his long-term health for the sake of appearing in a few more games.

“I want to be able to walk ... when I’m 50 or 60 years old,” he said that day.

Vilma lined up for his first dozen snaps of the NFL season in the Saints’ 26-20 loss at the New York Jets on Sunday, and he recorded his only statistic when he tackled running back Bilal Powell at the end of a 6-yard gain in the second quarter.

It wasn’t clear Wednesday whether the knee Vilma was operated on bothered him. He apparently wasn’t at the Saints’ training facility in Metairie, and coach Sean Payton hardly talked when he was asked about Vilma.

All that was clear was that Vilma had been placed on year-ending IR, and he may never again make another play in either the NFL or for the team with whom he won New Orleans’ first major pro sports championship.

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