Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas has been absent most of the 2021 season due to an ankle injury suffered in the offseason.
Thomas began his NFL career with four consecutive seasons of more than 1,000 receiving yards. He also broke the NFL record for most receptions in a season with 149 in 2019. He was named the NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 2019. Then, in his fifth season in 2020, injuries led him to play just seven games. And this season? Thomas has recorded zero attempts or completions this season.
So what exactly happened to the Saints’ wide receiver? Here’s everything you need to know about Thomas’ injury timeline and when he’s ready to return to the field.
What is Michael Thomas’s injury?
Thomas underwent ankle surgery in the offseason due to an injury sustained during the 2020 season. He has not played a game this season due to a setback with the surgery. As of November 3, Thomas was officially designated out for the remainder of the season.
Here’s Thomas’ announcement he made on Twitter.
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Michael Thomas Injury History
In September 2020, Thomas sprained his ankle during the Saints’ season opener. Then he missed four games, which was the most he had missed in a row. Previously, he had only missed one game in four seasons.
Reminder: Michael Thomas originally suffered his ankle injury in week 1 of last season when the #Saints he had the game in the bag with 2:19 left in the fourth quarter.
Everything has gone downhill since then.
– Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) November 3, 2021
But, before Thomas could return from his ankle injury, he suffered a hamstring injury during practice that knocked him out for two additional games. He was able to play six more games during the regular season before his ankle forced him out of the regular season.
Thomas decided to delay his ankle surgery until after the playoffs so he could help his quarterback Drew Brees advance during his final season at quarterback. However, the Saints lost to the Buccaneers in the divisional round.
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Thomas ended up not having his ankle surgery until June, which didn’t help in terms of getting this season started. Surgery was necessary to work on his torn deltoid and other injured ligaments in his ankle. Saints coach Sean Payton was unhappy with Thomas’ delay in surgery.
“Obviously, in hindsight, we would have preferred the surgery to be in early February or March. But it wasn’t. You know, it is what it is. And hopefully it’s had a good result so far, and hopefully we’ll get it. come back sooner rather than later, “Payton said via ESPN in late July.
Sean Payton on Michael Thomas: “The setback had more to do with the procedure than he had.”
Payton said he didn’t think there was anything Thomas could do and that he is surgically related.
– John Hendrix (@JohnJHendrix) November 3, 2021
And, as we now know, the Saints will get Thomas back much later than expected.
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Saints WR Depth for Depth
With Thomas out this season, the Saints have relied on their other wide receivers, Deonte Harris, Marquez Callaway and Tre’Quan Smith. However, running back Alvin Kamara also helped by making 32 receptions for 310 yards in the eight games he has played.
Harris leads the Saints’ total receiving yards with 427. Callaway is close behind with 396 and Smith has 236.
The Saints aren’t high on the total receiving yards list this season so far. With the most receiving yards of the Saints, Harris only ranks 61st in the NFL this season. Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp leads the NFL with 1,237 yards, by comparison.
Cooper Kupp has 92 receptions with 6 games to play.
He has to average more than 9.5 catches per game the rest of the way to break Michael Thomas’ record and even has the advantage of an extra game this year.
Makes you appreciate how crazy 2019 was @Cantguardmike
– John Butler (@Saintjohnbutler) November 29, 2021