New Orleans Saints star receiver Michael Thomas has suffered a setback that continues to keep him from returning to the field.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday morning that Thomas is dealing with a new and separate ankle injury, per a source informed of the situation.
Rapoport added that Thomas saw a specialist recently, and it remains undetermined when the start receiver might be able to return.
Thomas has been on the physically unable to perform list (PUP) from the start of the season after late offseason surgery. He was eligible to come off the list in Week 7, but the Saints have yet to make a move. We now know why.
The new ankle injury is the latest blow to a wideout who opened his career with four straight 1,000-plus yard seasons. Thomas played in just seven games in 2020, putting off surgery to battle for a Super Bowl in Drew Brees' final season.
The Saints receiving corps badly misses the big-bodied wideout. Marquez Callaway leads all receivers in receptions with just 19 for 284 yards and three TDs -- that reception total places him tied for 107th among all NFL players in 2021. New Orleans has moved the ball on the strength of Alvin Kamara (480 rushing yards and two TD on 133 carries; 28 catches, 256 yards, 4 TDs) and a piecemeal pass-catching corps.
Rapoport noted that the Saints called around to try to acquire receiver help -- Giants wideout Darius Slayton one potential target -- at Tuesday's trade deadline, but none came to fruition.
Sitting in prime playoff position at 5-2 after beating rival Tampa Bay at home on Sunday, the Saints continue to wait and hope that Thomas might return at some point this season. With Jameis Winston out for the season, New Orleans needs help bolster an offense that has done just enough to buffer one of the best defenses in the NFL.