METAIRIE, La. — Michael Thomas‘ status is “week to week” after the New Orleans Saints‘ wide receiver suffered a high ankle injury in the final minutes of Sunday’s win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, sources told ESPN.
The Saints expect Thomas to miss their game against the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday Night Football, sources said, because high ankle sprains typically sideline players for three to four weeks.
However, Thomas is not convinced he will miss time and hopes to come back as soon as possible.
The Saints have discussed the idea of placing Thomas, 27, on injured reserve — which would sideline him for at least three weeks — but Thomas has opposed the idea because he hopes to return sooner, sources said.
Thomas has missed only one game due to injury in his career — as a rookie in 2016. His absence would leave a huge void in New Orleans’ offense; Thomas just set the NFL record with 149 catches last season for 1,725 yards and nine touchdowns.
However, the Saints did just beat Tampa Bay 34-23 on Sunday despite Thomas having his quietest statistical output in three years (three catches for 17 yards). Thomas limped off the field just before the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter after having his leg rolled into by running back Latavius Murray. The Fox broadcast showed Thomas standing on the sideline shortly afterward with no wraps or ice.
Despite the victory, both Saints coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees described their performances as “awful,” vowing to have cleaner offensive outputs going forward. That could become a more daunting task now, however.
If Thomas misses time, the Saints’ offseason signing of veteran wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders will become even more vital. Sanders caught three passes for 15 yards and a touchdown in his Saints debut Sunday. Running back Alvin Kamara, tight end Jared Cook, quarterback/tight end Taysom Hill and receivers Tre’Quan Smith, Deonte Harris and Bennie Fowler could all play bigger roles in New Orleans’ passing game as well.