Former Ohio State Wide Receiver Michael Thomas Will Miss Entire Season for New Orleans Saints Due to Ankle Injury Setback

By Dan Hope on November 3, 2021 at 11:18 am
Michael Thomas
Ron Chenoy – USA TODAY Sports

Michael Thomas will not play a single snap this season.

The former Ohio State wide receiver, who’s been battling an ankle injury since last season, said Wednesday he will be unable to play for the New Orleans Saints this season after suffering another setback in his recovery from that injury.

Thomas initially injured his ankle when he suffered a high ankle sprain during the first game of the Saints’ 2020 season. While Thomas was able to play seven games and two playoff games in 2020, he was unable to return to his All-Pro form, as he finished the regular season with 40 catches for 438 yards and zero touchdowns (though he did catch a touchdown in the Saints’ first playoff game against the Chicago Bears).

After the injury continued to plague him this offseason, Thomas underwent ankle surgery in June and was placed on the physically unable to perform list by the Saints with the expectation that he would be able to return midseason. Now, however, he won’t be returning until 2022.

Saints coach Sean Payton, who initially questioned the timing of Thomas’ surgery this offseason, said Wednesday that Thomas is “working his tail off” and the setback “isn’t anything he can control.”

Thomas led the NFL in receptions in both 2018, when he caught 125 passes for 1,405 yards and nine touchdowns, and 2019, when he was named AP Offensive Player of the Year after setting a new single-season record with 149 receptions for 1,725 yards and nine touchdowns. He signed a five-year, $100 million contract extension with the Saints before the 2019 season that made him the NFL’s highest-paid wide receiver at the time.

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