The New Orleans Saints are going to look quite different when they take the field to start the 2021 NFL season.
According to NFL Media, star wide receiver Michael Thomas is expected to miss the start of the season following ankle surgery last month.
Thomas suffered a serious ankle injury in last season's opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and missed the following six games. After his return, Thomas caught 40 passes in seven games (five starts) for 438 yards, but he did not catch a touchdown last season.
After being placed on injured reserve for the regular season's final three games. He returned for the postseason, catching a TD pass in the win over the Chicago Bears. But Thomas was blanked in the loss the following week at home to Tampa Bay.
A four-month timetable could shelf Thomas until October based on his June surgery date. Now the question becomes: Why did he have it so late in the offseason?
The Saints already will be without Drew Brees — who retired this offseason — and lost multiple starters (including wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders) via free agency. They also face the loss of defensive lineman David Onyemata, who is currently suspended for the season's first six games.
Now Thomas' loss — for an indeterminate length of time — will make life tougher for the Saints. There's expected to be a battle for the starting job between Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill for the right to replace Brees.
The Saints' other receivers on the roster include Tre'Quan Smith, Marquez Callaway, Deonte Harris, Juwan Johnson, Lil'Jordan Humphrey, Jake Lampman, Kawaan Baker, Jalen McCleskey and Easop Winston Jr. That group combined for 82 catches for 913 yards and six scores a year ago.
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