Saints’ Victor Butler, Jonathan Vilma optimistic about return
However, Butler remains optimistic and says he’s going make his best effort to return by the end of the season. In recent weeks, Butler has been working hard – doing running, cutting and “everything but hitting” – to get back into football shape. Barring any setback, Victor will be able to get back on the field later in the season, considering the NFL’s new rules regarding PUP list also favor his return. Players placed on the PUP list at the start the season can now begin practicing in Week 12. But first, their respective teams must decide whether to active the players, or release them or move them to the season-ending decision. The decision must be made within a three-week window.
Meanwhile, Butler in handling his absence from games well and is enjoying the success of the Saints’ defense as much as possible. Even though Butler – who signed free agent this offseason – cannot contribute to the Saints’ defense on the field on game-day, he is till proud to be a part of the team that currently leads the NFC South with a 5-1 record almost mid-way through the 2013 season.
But the Saints’ defense might another linebacker back on the roster and ready for game action much sooner, with Jonathan Vilma returning to practice. The 10-year pro Vilma has fully practicing in every session this week, after beginning the season on the short-term IR due to a less-severe knee surgery in the preseason. Vilma currently remain on the IR, but can return to the active roster as soon as next week and will be eligible to play in Week 9.
The Saints are in no rush to get Vilma back on the field considering David Hawthorne has well while filling in for him during the first six games this season. But Vilma believes he’s on pace with his recovery and is eagerly waiting for the Saints to activate him.
“I’m feeling good, holding up well. I’ll tell Sean [Payton], ‘Hey, I had a good week, I’m ready to go.’ And we’ll go from there,” said Vilma. “But it was great that I didn’t have to rush or push the rehab process along,” Vilma said. “So it’s really been getting a good rest and strengthening.”