DePriest, a senior who has started 26 games the past two seasons, is expected to return Week 2 against Florida Atlantic, Saban told reporters in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Wednesday.
Saban pointed out that since DePriest, a preseason All-SEC selection by both the media and coaches, was limited for much of fall camp with an injury, his backups were able to get plenty of reps.
"Even though this wasn't something we anticipated, it was something we were able to prepare for," he said.
Saban doesn't expect DePriest's absence to have a noticeable impact on the game plan because West Virginia likes to go with multiple-receiver sets on offense that require fewer linebackers on the field.
"We'll probably be in nickel or dime in this game 70 percent or more," Saban said, "so there won't be a lot of regular [base defenses]."
Alabama and West Virginia are set to kick off on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET in Atlanta.