New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas hasn't played a single game this season, and the star wide receiver has now announced that he's out for the year after he suffered a setback to his ankle injury.
Thomas injured his ankle early during the 2020 season and had lingering issues during the year, even going into injured reserve to nurse the problem before the playoffs. He went through surgery in June 2021 to fix the problem and was expected to return to action in November, but the player confirmed on Twitter that he's suffered a setback in his recovery and will only return in 2022.
Thomas' ankle issues were a distraction for both the player and the team months ago. The Saints wanted their star to have surgery earlier in the offseason, but Thomas decided to try rehab without surgery, ignoring calls from New Orleans trainers for months.
He only opted for surgery when training camp was inching closer, and Saints head coach Sean Payton was not happy.
The Saints tried to trade for a wide receiver before the 2021 trade deadline, which was on Tuesday, but they had no success finding a deal for a new pass catcher.
Michael Thomas out for the season...when will he return?
With Thomas opting for ankle surgery, he's out for the remainder of the year and will only return for the 2022 season.
It's an incredibly difficult situation for the Saints to manage, as the Saints are in dire need of quality receivers and they have also lost starting quarterback Jameis Winston for the year with a knee injury suffered in Week 8 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Thomas signed a five-year, $100 million extension with the Saints before the 2019 season, making him the highest-paid receiver in the NFL at the time. He's a two-time First Team All-Pro receiver and was also voted to three straight Pro Bowls between 2017-19.
Thomas was elected NFL Offensive Player of the Year for the 2019 season.
The Saints' passing offense will have major problems now. Not only are they going to use a backup quarterback, but they're also going to miss their only wide receiver with true star power.
Even when you have a great roster, you need your passing game to be effective in order to make a run in the playoffs. Without Winston and Thomas, this will be much harder now - if the Saints make it there, of course.