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Saints RB Thomas to miss ninth game with sprained ankle

Pierre Thomas isn't quite ready to return to the New Orleans Saints.

The running back won't play Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, a team source told NFL Network's Kara Henderson, although he should return for next week's game against the St. Louis Rams.

The Saints later confirmed that Thomas would be inactive.

Thomas didn't play in New Orleans' previous eight games while he recovered from a severely sprained left ankle. After Thomas was limited in practice Friday and listed as questionable on the injury report, Saints coach Sean Payton said he was "guarded" about the running back's prospects of facing the Bengals and would make a game-time decision.

Thomas was the Saints' leading rusher last season with 793 yards and six touchdowns. An effective receiver on screens and swing passes, Thomas also caught 39 passes for 302 yards and two scores. He capped his 2009 season with touchdowns on screen passes in both the NFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl.

This season, Thomas had 147 yards and one score on 46 rushes, along with 133 yards on 17 catches, before he suffered his injury at the end of a Week 3 overtime loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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