The linebacker position is already thin for the New Orleans Saints, and now they will have one less body to work with when they open up the season Sunday versus the Atlanta Falcons. Jonathan Vilma has been placed on the short-term injured reserve list.

NFL teams are allowed to use the short-term IR designation on one player per season. He will be eligible to return, at the earliest, six weeks from today. While on the short-term IR list, Vilma is not allowed to practice or play in games.

Vilma underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in Philadelphia three weeks ago. At 31 years old, Vilma has a history of knee issues. He was slated to start alongside Curtis Lofton in the middle of the Saints new 3-4 defense.

Vilma's roster spot was taken by wide receiver Robert Meachem, who signed with his former team early today.