The Spanish international fractured his tibia during last season's Club World Cup and made his long-awaited return as a 73rd minute substitute during Barcelona's 2-0 friendly win over Dinamo Bucharest.
"Last year we missed him (Villa) because he's a player that guarantees goals," Vilanova told the club's official website. "He's very necessary to the side.
"I spoke with the doctors and the physios before playing him against Dinamo. It is very important for us to recover players, especially if they are well loved like Villa is."
"The team is playing at a good level ahead of the start of the league," he continued. "We have had a group of players that have trained for two solid weeks.
Barcelona captain Carles Puyol is to undergo knee surgery to remove a cyst, the club says.