As first reported by Tom Pelissero(@TomPelissero) and Ian Rapoport(@RapSheet), Michael Thomas is expected to miss several weeks due to a high-ankle injury. The details of this injury are sparse at the moment and likely to develop over the coming days. Also, with the New Orleans Saints scheduled for the Monday Night Football game, the news might be a bit slower than normal. The Saints will have to quickly fill the void left by record-setting Thomas.
Michael Thomas Ankle Injury
Thomas suffered the injury late into the Saints win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during Week 1 action. Thomas was targeted five times against the Buccaneers but only managed three catches for 17 yards. Even with the rare quiet game from Thomas, the Saints still won Sunday’s game due to touchdowns from Alvin Kamara and Emmanuel Sanders.
The 2020 New Orleans Saints are much more equipped to handle the loss of Thomas than probably any other season in which he has been in the NFL. The Saints players targeted the most in Sunday’s Week 1 action were Jared Cook, as well as Kamara and Sanders. Cook and quarterback Drew Brees began to gel late in 2019. This connection continued in Week 1 as Brees targeted Cook seven times, second only to Kamara. Meanwhile, Sanders caught a touchdown in his first action with the Saints on five targets, tied with Thomas for third on the team.
The Saints dynamic duo at running back will also have to contribute as they did in Week 1. Look for the Saints to continue to use Kamara out of the backfield and in the slot. Kamara had the second-most receiving yards of any Saints player in Week 1. Catching passes is not foreign to Kamara. He has hauled in 81 receptions in each of his past three seasons. This will leave the heavy-duty running to Latavius Murray, who showed he is up to the challenge against the Buccaneers. Murray averaged 3.2 yards a carry against a very stout Buccaneers run defense on 15 carries.
The Michael Thomas loss is huge for a Saints team with Super Bowl aspirations. The hope will be that Thomas can be back before more divisional matchups occur in Week 7. An early bye in week 6 will also help Thomas recover. The Saints’ next four opponents are the Las Vegas Raiders, Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, and Los Angeles Chargers. If the Saints can tread water during these easier games, the Michael Thomas ankle injury might not have a significant impact on their overall record.