"I know he's willing to play me if I'm ready," said Thomas, who was limited at practice last week.
"I think he is going to play," Payton told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "I do. What I don't want to do is say he is playing next Sunday and then not be right if it doesn't feel well this week. But I would say based on the way he practiced last week that there is a lot of optimism he will be involved in this plan."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.