Saints WR Michael Thomas Set to Miss the Start of 2021 NFL Season Due to Ankle Surgery

WR Michael Thomas with New Orleans Saints in 2018
WR Michael Thomas with New Orleans Saints in 2018. Photo by Stephen Lew/CSM/REX/Shutterstock (9884388o)

New Orleans Saints Pro Bowl wideout Michael Thomas is expected to start the 2021 NFL season on the sidelines. According to multiple reports, Thomas underwent major surgery on his ankle and will be out of action for at least four months. 

Thomas had ankle issues since the start of the last season and was limited to playing only seven games in 2020. The injury turned out to be more significant than it was initially believed and involved torn ligaments, which forced the 28-year-old star to have the procedure.

NFL Network‘s Ian Rapoport reports that this kind of surgery requires four months of recovery, putting Thomas on track to miss the first month of the season and maybe even more.

Thomas being out represents a major blow for the Saints’ hopes to remain competitive. The franchise will enter the season without their longtime quarterback Drew Brees, who retired in March, while already being thin at the wide receiver position.

After releasing veteran Emmanuel Sanders earlier in the offseason, New Orleans will have to rely heavily on an unproven core consisting of 2018’s third-round pick Tre’Quan Smith, last year’s undrafted free agent acquisition Marquez Callaway, and return specialist Deonte Harris.

Michael Thomas has been a go-to guy for the Saints on offense since being selected in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft. In five years as a pro, he managed to catch 510 receptions for 5,950 yards while also coming down with 32 touchdowns.  Thomas has three Pro Bowl nods and two First-Team All-Pro selections while also being named NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 2019 after breaking the NFL’s record for most receptions in a single season with 149.