New Orleans will be without Michael Thomas for its first road game of the season.
The Saints have ruled their star receiver out for Monday Night Football against the Raiders, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Saturday. The team later confirmed the news.
Thomas, the reigning Offensive Player of the Year, missed every practice this week after suffering a high-ankle sprain in the closing minutes of the team's Week 1 win over the Buccaneers on Sunday. He was unusually quiet in the contest, hauling three of his five targets for 17 yards and no scores.
Rapoport and NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday that Thomas is expected to miss several weeks after it was previously believed he would try to play through the injury. Saturday's development could signal the beginning of such a stretch.
With the all-world wideout out of the lineup, Drew Brees will have to rely on receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Deonte Harris, tight end Jared Cook and running back Alvin Kamara's dual-threat ability to help make up for the sizable gap Thomas' absence creates.
Sanders tallied three catches for 15 yards and a TD in his Saints debut while Cook chipped in five receptions for 80 yards and Kamara recorded 5/51/1. Playing without Thomas' gravity, a valuable weapon that makes a difference even if he's not stuffing the stat sheet, will certainly be a test for Brees and Co.
New Orleans managed to prevail in the season opener despite receiving little production from Thomas. They'll have to find a way to do that against Las Vegas in two days and possibly for the foreseeable future.