Michael Thomas hasn’t played within an NFL game since January of 2021, but reports from training camp suggest the wide receiver has completed an essential part of the long procedure for getting back on the field.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Thomas participated in team drills through the Saints’ practice Saturday, noting that Thomas is really a “full-go” for training camp. It really is an encouraging development in the ongoing saga of Thomas’ long recovery from ankle surgery which has kept him on the sidelines for over per year.
The wideout originally injured his ankle in Week hands down the 2020 season, even though he fought through the pain he struggled, recording just 40 catches and 438 receiving yards in mere seven games played.
Thomas made a decision to have surgery on the ankle in June of the next offseason to handle the problem, with the original timetable for his return about four months. But Thomas finished up not playing at all in 2021, and was still not 100 percent entering this offseason’s workout programs.
The healing process was has been slow going, as Thomas didn’t take part in organized team activities and started training camp on the physically struggling to perform list, but with Thomas being cleared for individual drills Wednesday and team drills on Saturday, it’s looking like he’s finally able to make his return.
It’s welcome news for the Saints, whose receiver corps struggled greatly minus the three-time Pro Bowler in 2021. New Orleans finished last in the league altogether receiving yards, no player collected a lot more than 700 yards receiving.
Thomas recorded at the very least 1,100 receiving yards in his first four seasons and led the Saints in receiving yards all of these years, like the 2019 campaign where he set the NFL single-season record with 149 receptions.
If his practices continue steadily to trend in the proper direction through the entire preseason and he is able to play at his previous level this season, which will be an enormous help for the Saints offense.
New Orleans also addressed last season’s receiving issues by acquiring veteran Jarvis Landry and drafting first-round pick Chris Olave out of Ohio State, so altogether signs are pointing to the offense starting the growing season in a far greater position than this time around this past year.
So after months of questions over when Thomas can make his long-awaited return, it would appear that the receiver is playing at full health during training camp and may make his much-anticipated go back to the field in Week 1.
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