Vilma claims suspension jeopardizes his medical condition

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In many respects, Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma’s effort to block his suspension while his lawsuit unfolds looks a lot like the successful attempt to delay the StarCaps suspensions.  But Vilma’s case has one significant difference.

Along with the obvious (and potent) contention that there’s no way to restore the lost games to Vilma’s career if he ultimately is exonerated, Vilma claims that the suspension will jeopardize his medical condition.

The motion and the signed affidavit from Vilma, copies of which PFT has obtained, explain that Vilma has an injury that requires rehabilitation under the supervision of the Saints medical staff.

Vilma explains that he suffered a knee injury on September 16, 2011, during a non-contact practice drill.  “I was affected by that injury throughout the remainder of the Season and I believe I was only able to play at 70-75 percent,” Vilma alleges.  “I was forced to miss five games due to the injury and played in three or four other games against the advice of doctors.”

Vilma explains that he underwent arthroscopic surgery in November, and that after the  2011 season ended he underwent osteoarticular transfer system surgery.  “Essentially,” Vilma explains, “the surgeon removed cartilage from the non-weight bearing side of my knee and placed the cartilage into the weight-bearing part of my knee where I had lost cartilage.”  The surgery aims to have the replaced cartilage become absorbed into the side of the knee where it is needed.

The affidavit details Vilma’s rehab, which included not being able to run for four full months.  Eventually, he received a recommendation from Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez for a doctor in Germany, who removes anti-inflammatory agents from the patient’s blood and then injects the anti-inflammatory agents back into the patient.

Vilma says that he underwent the procedure during the week of July 2, and that it immediately helped reduce the swelling, allowing Vilma to begin running.

To continue his rehab, Vilma says he needs to have access to Saints trainer Scottie Patten, who supervises Vilma’s efforts on a daily basis.  “I am very concerned that being unable to work with Mr. Patten will jeopardize the rest of my football career and that my condition could deteriorate without his supervision and guidance,” Vilma contends.

It’s an intriguing argument.  Though access to Patten should have no bearing on whether Vilma’s suspension is upheld, it’s another strong reason to delay the suspension until Vilma’s lawsuit aimed at overturning the suspension is resolved.  If, in the end, he wins the lawsuit, Vilma necessarily would have lost important access to a man who can help Vilma work together being healthy enough to further risk his health playing football.

The only problem with the argument is that it gives rise to a potential baby-splitting outcome from Judge Helen G. Berrigan.  She could decide to allow the suspension to remain in place as to practices and games, but to order the NFL to permit Vilma to have access to Patten while the lawsuit proceeds.

Either way, a decision is needed soon.  The Saints open camp in eight days — and Vilma is already nearly two weeks removed from being able to work with Patten.

33 responses to “Vilma claims suspension jeopardizes his medical condition

  1. This guy makes in one season of playing football what it would take me 40 years to make, working year-round, in my job.

    He can go to hell, and on the way there he can get his own damn doctor.

  2. Lost all respect for this chum he is looking any loophole or way to get out of the suspension even though he clearly did it and any idiots that say no he didn’t then y has Greg Williams not appealed and admitted he did it

  3. So he “played in three or four other games against the advice of doctors” and now he’s saying his health is in jeopardy unless he’s under the supervision of those same doctors? Genius.

  4. So, there is absolutely no way to rehab from a knee injury outside the confines of an NFL team? And he seems to undercut his own argument with the whole bit about how it took A-Rod to recommend him a doctor in Germany. Seemingly, the Saints are indispensable when it comes to medical care…except when they aren’t?

  5. Seriously? This guy just doesn’t get it. This is a pretty lame attempt to get the courts to see things his way. He needs that particular trainer or it “will jeopardize the rest of my football career and that my condition could deteriorate without his supervision and guidance” Wow, that’s a bunch of BS especially when he contends that he won’t listen to legitimate doctors concerning this particular injury anyway. “I was forced to miss five games due to the injury and played in three or four other games against the advice of doctors.” It seems to me that he is simply trying to get one more year of NFL pay (this year) so he can retire and render the suspension moot even if he loses the lawsuit(s). I hope the judge can see that, because it seems pretty obvious to me.

  6. I don’t see any reason the NFL or the judge should bar Vilma from seeing the trainer. That said, he was suspended as part of the agreed to process in the CBA. No games, no practice, no conversation, no money. Just the trainer. Thanks and have a nice law suit.

  7. Every bit of new information that comes out regarding this bounty issue makes the NFL look more and more irresponsible. A Los Angeles Times article recently disclosed that the Saints were second only to the Chargers in causing the least injury to opposing players in 2009. There is no evidence of players attempting to injure, and now there IS REAL evidence of no string of injuries left behind.
    The NFL has a hidden agenda and has picked these players to sacrifice to that cause. It is truly disgusting that they have done this, and they hide behind the authority of the CBA to give them the abusive power to enforce completely unjust suspensions…..And Vilma should have recourse for this health issue as well as his financial and reputation losses!

  8. Every time Vilma opens his mouth all I can think of is “Shut up! You are just making yourself look worse!” And then I think, well, this is as about as bad as he can make himself look, at least. And then he opens his mouth again and it starts all over again.

  9. Really? This loser tried to end the careers of fellow players and he now uses the excuse that it will jeopardize his health if he is suspended for the year. Maybe he should take some of the bounty money that he offered up and get a private firm to get him back to health. UNBELIEVABLE!

  10. Ironic. He didn’t care about the medical condition of the players he “drilled”.

  11. first let me say i am a saints fan. now let me say, THIS IS RIDICULOUS. it’s not like he can’t go elsewhere for rehab. give me a break. he has now gone too far. i am starting to wish he would just go away quietly but it doesn’t appear that’s gonna happen.

  12. As the purpose of Vilma’s punishment is NOT to prevent him from rehabilitating his injury, but rather to prevent him from participating in games, practices, etc., I wouldn’t think Goodell or the league would object to Vilma having access to Saints trainer Scottie Patten.

    As to Vilma’s suspension, I’m of the view that the injunction should NOT be granted. Regardless of whether we’re talking TRO or preliminary injunction here, doesn’t there also have to be a showing of, among other things, a “substantial likelihood” of prevailing on the merits? Indeed, while Vilma may be able to show irreparable harm (and not because of lost salary), I would be surprised if Vilma clears that “substantial likelihood” hurdle. Of course, if injunctive relief is granted, then I would imagine Commissioner Goodell and the league might want to have their appellate attorneys on speed dial to appeal any adverse lower court ruling before the Fifth Circuit.

  13. It’s clear than many of the haters here need to put themselves in Vilma’s shoes. You know you didn’t do what Goodell accused you of, but you have to deal with the public opinion that he intentionally manipulated. If you’re tired of reading about Vilma, then don’t read about him. But, don’t hate a man for trying to clear his name against a system that doesn’t provide him a fair chance to. And don’t hate him for trying to play in the sport he loves. What will your opinion be if it is proven in court that Goodell’s accusations were indeed false?

  14. Maybe Mr.Vilma should have thought about the consequences of his actions BEFORE he participated in them.

    Now that the Saints have signed Lofton and Bree’s they just need to cut this joke so they can move on. The Saints are too classy for this kind of mess….this coming from a Falcons fan.

  15. How many GD angles can we beat this story to death with?

    What does the Saint mascot have to say about the Bounty case? The people deserve to know.

  16. As a Falcons fan, I love how every time a Saints player opens his mouth it makes him looker dumber and dumber. Go on ahead and keep talking Vilma, maybe they will increase your suspension from something you slipped up and said out of stupidity, which seems to be the only way he says anything.

  17. Vilma’s legal shenanigans are harming the mental health of every NFL fan. Clearly, there are no other adequate medical personnel available to help him rehabilitate his knee. Then again, maybe he’s on to something as apparently no other team medical/training staff is as liberal in dispensing pain killers.

  18. Pretty sure he’s not going to be able to jump in on any concussion lawsuits, his claims here might actually HURT the case of the people in said suits currently. His admission that he “played in 3 or 4 games against doctors orders” is pretty bad, considering he can’t be the only one who’s ever lied to a doctor in order to get on the field again.

  19. Yes, but the reason you’re suspended is because the NFL cares about the medical condition of everyone else. You’re the one that screwed up. Deal with it.

  20. Why go somewhere else when its free at the Saints training building. Come-on people’s have some kind of brains would you guys go to some other doctor and pay out of your pocket No! so why would you guys say find another doctor. I tell you what if I was Vilma I would tell NFL commissioner Roger Goodell one time after that I will file another lawsuit. Someone will have a talk with Roger Goodell don’t you people’s think that the owners going to set around and let Roger Goodell mess up their money. They already talking about within 2 years they going to fire him words of the fans who spending hundreds and thousands of dollars words means something. They all think the same way I do if Roger Goodell have the full house lay it on the table let the rocks fall where they please.

  21. Sorry, but I have to pile on here. First, he’s now concerned with his health and the longevity of his career but played against doctors orders. He can travel to Germany and pay thousands for treatment but can’t afford a trainer. My 8 yr. old puts better arguments together.

  22. And…he jeopardizes others medical conditions. Don’t come back after your year is up dude.

  23. Vilma is a great linebacker who didn’t make illegal hits on anyone. It’s completely wrong to make him sit out a year for this bs.

  24. I tried to stay neutral in all this and give Vilma the benefit of the doubt, but this is officially grasping at straws and seems desperate. I once heard a wise man say, “when you start to get desperate you start showing just how guilty you truly are.”

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