Michael Thomas underwent surgery in June to repair an ankle injury he suffered during last season’s season-opening win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The injury is expected to keep the wide receiver sidelined for about four months, which puts his availability for the first month of the season in question. The timing of the procedure raises some questions about what happened over the last several months and why the surgery did not take place until a few weeks before the start of training camp. So, what happened?
Here is what we have been able to piece together.
Right after the season ended, the Saints wide receiver saw a specialist who evaluated his ankle and believed there was at least some possibility he could rehabilitate the injury and avoid surgery. Thomas was supposed to take a month or so to attempt to heal his ankle through rest and rehabilitation and then come back to the specialist to see if he still needed an operation to repair his torn deltoid ligament. The second evaluation never happened.
When the wide receiver reported back to the Saints this summer for the first time since the season ended, the team was finally able to evaluate his ankle and told him to get the operation. While there has been some conflicting information, I’m told Thomas only had the one operation performed on his ankle.
Thomas will now need about 6-8 weeks for the repaired ligament to heal and then another 6-8 weeks to get it in shape to where he can run and cut effectively. There is a possibility that Thomas could shorten the timeline but being on the field for the season opener against the Green Bay Packers seems unlikely.
New Orleans opens training camp next week. While Thomas is out, Tre’Quan Smith and second-year player Marquez Callaway will likely carry the load at wide receiver.