Saints WR Michael Thomas to miss rest of season due to setback with ankle injury

New Orleans Saints receiver Michael Thomas is out for the season.

The wideout announced Wednesday he would not return for the 2021 season after a setback in his rehab from offseason ankle surgery.

"I've always been a man of faith and these past few months my faith has truly been tested," Thomas wrote in a social media post. "As many of you know, early last season I injured my ankle and worked extremely hard over the next few months to get back in time to finish the season. Unfortunately the rehab didn't go as planned and earlier this off-season it was apparent I would need to have a procedure to repair the injury.

"Since then, the team and I have worked diligently, day and night to rehab and get me back on the field. Unfortunately, there has been another small set back which we will have to address. To my displeasure, I will not be able to make it back in time for this season but will do everything in my power to get back to the player I have always been. I know God doesn't make mistakes so I will continue to follow in his path, and can't wait to be back on the field in front of the best fans on the planet."

Earlier Wednesday morning, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Thomas had suffered a new, separate ankle injury that required the wideout to see a specialist.

Saints coach Sean Payton later confirmed that Thomas' setback "was more to do with the procedure he had" prior to this new injury, per Sports Illustrated.

Thomas has been on the physically unable to perform list (PUP) since the start of the season. He was eligible to come off the list in Week 7, but the Saints had yet to make a move. Now, he's done for the season.

Thomas opened his career with four straight 1,000-plus yard seasons and set the NFL record for receptions with 149 in 2019. But the ankle injuries have derailed the past two campaigns. The 28-year-old played in just seven games in 2020, putting off surgery to try to battle for a Super Bowl in Drew Brees' final season.

With Thomas' setback, Rapoport reported that the Saints attempted to acquire receiver help before Tuesday's trade deadline, including talks with the New York Giants about Darius Slayton, but couldn't get a deal done.

Through seven games, running back Alvin Kamara leads the Saints with 28 catches. Wideout Marquez Callaway is second on the team with 19 catches for 284 yards and three TDs.

Payton expressed confidence in the remaining wideouts going forward, telling reporters, "I thought they had a good game last week. ... These guys are tough, they're competitive, and I like them. I'm not interested in your PFF grades or any of that stuff. Obviously, you're better if you have Mike Thomas in that group, but we don't."

The 5-2 Saints sit in playoff position, but the Thomas news is the latest setback for Sean Payton's offense, which lost quarterback Jameis Winston to an ACL tear on Sunday. With 10 games remaining and no shot of the Pro Bowl receiver returning for the stretch run, Payton will now have to patch together a receiving corps.

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