The New Orleans Saints activated linebacker Jonathan Vilma from the short-term injured reserve list Saturday, making him eligible to play for the first time this season Sunday against the New York Jets.

Vilma was placed on injured reserve with a designation to return in Week 1 after he had an arthroscopic clean-up surgery on his knee during the preseason.

Vilma said that gave him more than enough time to fully recover. He has been back practicing the past two weeks.

"Fortunately I was able to take that long, almost like an extended rehab period. It was definitely for the better," Vilma said Friday. "Back [in Week 1] of course, I wanted to try to rush and get back. But it was definitely for the better that I now I'm able to come back and able to just go out there and run, run around and get back into football shape, get my angles down and my timing."

Chances are, the Saints will ease Vilma back in a rotational role -- both because he's been out so long and because veteran David Hawthorne has played so well as his replacement in the starting lineup.

The Saints likely don't know what to expect from Vilma, a 10-year veteran who has been dealing with knee problems on and off for the past three years.

A three-time Pro Bowler, Vilma hasn't been in peak form since the beginning of the 2011 season. He was looking good throughout the summer OTAs and minicamps, but the knee started to swell again early in training camp.