After a record-setting campaign, Michael Thomas took home the NFL Offensive Player of the Year award in 2019. He picked up an injury in the Week 1 of the 2020 season. He's been trying to work his way back from injury but initially found himself on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.
It's been a long road to recovery for the Saints receiver, who took to Twitter to post a message about his health:
"Y'all favorite fantasy doctor lied. #unfollow"
The wide receiver was referring to the fact that he attended the first practice of training camp and felt pretty good.
Iit looks like he felt good enough to practice and is therefore on track to start the season. He's since been removed from the PUP list.
That's good news for the Saints and those "fantasy doctors" who might want to draft him in fantasy football this season. But it's terrible news for the NFC South and the rest of the NFL if the former record-setter is back and healthier than ever.
What to expect from Michael Thomas this NFL season?
The NFL has warped fans' perspectives on injuries. Most ACL tears don't fully heal, and many who experience these injuries have lingering issues.
Football has conditioned people to believe that a devastating injury means a lost season, but they'll be back to normal for the beginning of the following season. That's not always the case.
Recovering from an injury can leave players as a shell of themselves. However, if Michael Thomas avoids that, then there's no reason to believe he won't resume being one of the top wide receivers in the league.
Thomas suffered three injuries in the 2020 season. He first had a high-ankle sprain in Week 1 during a match against the Buccaneers. He came back after a couple of weeks but then was afflicted by a hamstring injury in Week 7.
After missing two games, he came back, but was forced to miss the last three matches of the season due to the ankle injury that had caused him trouble earlier. He missed the entire 2021 season as his rehad didn't go according to plan.
However, it would be crazy to think that he could replicate or even improve upon his 2019 season. That's not a slight against the receiver. It's praise for his other-worldly season in 2019.
In the 2019 season, Thomas recorded 1,725 receiving yards for nine receiving touchdowns. He also registered an incredible 107.8 receiving yards per game that season.
Plus, he's not being thrown to by Drew Brees anymore. Jameis Winston is the Saints' quarterback now. Winston's not a bad quarterback by any means, but he's no Drew Brees.
Still, an exceptional season is probably on the way, provided Thomas recovers as he seems to expect he will. If that happens, the Saints could challenge for the NFC South title.