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Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma will start season on short-term injured reserve

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There has been plenty of speculation recently about New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma’s status for the Saint’s season opener against the Atlanta Falcons.

The verdict is finally in.

Vilma will not play.

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In fact, Vilma is expected to begin the season on the injured reserve designated to return list, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Vilma, who is recovering from knee surgery, will begin the season on short-term injured reserve, but can return to the active roster after eight weeks.

Considering Vilma's history of knee problems, the designation will give his body more time to heal and allow him to be available this season.

New Orleans will likely turn to David Hawthorne and Curtis Lofton to start as inside linebackers for the Saints in their new 3-4 defense. Hawthorne struggled with injuries last season in New Orleans, but had three straight seasons with over 100 tackles in Seattle before joining the Saints.

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