Saints fans looking forward to the much-anticipated return of Michael Thomas will have to wait a bit longer. The All-Pro receiver, who shattered the NFL’s single-season catch record in 2019, was aiming to return from a three-game absence Monday night against the Chargers, but was surprisingly ruled out Sunday afternoon.
Thomas appears to be over the ankle sprain he suffered in Week 1—the 27-year-old resumed practicing on a limited basis this week. Instead, the Saints are benching Thomas for disciplinary reasons with ESPN’s Adam Schefter reporting the fifth-year wideout was involved in an altercation with one of his teammates. Schefter’s ESPN colleague Josina Anderson adds that Thomas was asked to leave Friday’s practice and fined an undisclosed amount for “conduct detrimental” to the team.
Thomas won’t be in attendance Monday night against Los Angeles, but is expected to return to the team later this week. With a bye week to follow, we won’t see Thomas back in uniform for the Saints until New Orleans hosts division-rival Carolina in Week 7.
With Thomas unavailable, Emmanuel Sanders and Tre’Quan Smith will be asked to lead the Saints’ pass-catching unit with tight end Jared Cook and running back Alvin Kamara also candidates for increased usage. Even with Thomas shelved, the Saints remain 7.5-point favorites over the visiting Chargers, who haven’t won since their opening-week triumph over Cincinnati.