Thomas has not yet been placed on injured reserve, however, which would require him to miss at least three games. So that leaves hope that the star receiver could be back soon.
Thomas, who set an NFL record with 149 catches last season, did not practice all week after limping off the field with a high ankle injury just before the two-minute warning of last Sunday’s win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Thomas’ leg got rolled into by Saints running back Latavius Murray.
Sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter earlier this week that Thomas wanted to try to play through the injury, but the team expected him to miss time, since high ankle sprains typically sideline players for three to four weeks.
The Saints likely will count on a number of players to help fill the enormous void left by Thomas — starting with newly signed veteran receiver Emmanuel Sanders, running back Alvin Kamara and tight end Jared Cook.
The timing of the injury isn’t great, since the Saints’ offense was already sputtering a bit last week, when quarterback Drew Brees threw for only 160 yards in New Orleans’ 34-23 win.
“Well, I think we definitely have a next-man-up mentality,” Brees said earlier this week, before Thomas was officially ruled out. “I think everybody’s always ready to step into a role and fulfill that role. I think our coaching staff does a great job of putting guys in the best position to succeed and building a game plan around the strengths of the guys that we do have.”