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Jonathan Vilma on Saints' IR/designated to return list

The New Orleans Saints' defense will be missing yet another starter. The good news is that they expect linebacker Jonathan Vilma to eventually return.'s Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday that Vilma will be placed on injured reserve with a designation to return. That means Vilma will not be allowed to practice for the first six weeks of the season and can't play for the first eight weeks. The team later officially announced the move.

Vilma underwent knee surgery in August, and details surrounding his injury have been scarce. He's undergone a ton of knee surgeries in his career, and he struggled on the field last season. With Vilma out, David Hawthorne is likely to start next to Curtis Lofton.

The Saints lost outside linebacker Will Smith and defensive end Kenyon Coleman for the season. Linebacker Victor Butler is on the physically unable to perform list after tearing his ACL, and he is a long shot to play this season.

Saints coordinator Rob Ryan inherited one of the worst defenses in the NFL this offseason. He promptly lost four defensive starters before the regular season even started.

And all they have to do is face Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falconson Sunday.

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