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Vilma could soon return for Saints

New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma reportedly could return for Sunday's game against Tampa Bay.

One of the central figures in the club's bounty scandal, Vilma is currently on the physically unable to perform list as he again appeals the year-long suspension issued by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Vilma told WVUE-TV on Sunday night that he will come off the PUP list on Tuesday and could be ready for game action this coming Sunday.

"I'll be allowed to practice, I'll be allowed to play versus Tampa Bay," Vilma told the TV station.

Vilma is rehabbing a knee injury that sidelined him for five games last season and eventually required three operations in an eight-month span. He was put on the PUP list at the start of the second week of the NFL season in September, only after an arbitration appeals panel overturned the first suspension issued by Goodell in May.

The PUP designation allowed Vilma to collect his salary, which was being withheld after he was initially suspended.

Goodell amended some of the suspensions he originally imposed on four players, but kept Vilma's penalty at a full year. The latest appeal will likely be heard some time next week, which would allow Vilma to play this Sunday if he is activated by the Saints.