Saints' Michael Thomas Opens Training Camp on PUP List amid Ankle Injury Recovery

Adam WellsJuly 21, 2022

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 13: Michael Thomas #13 of the New Orleans Saints looks on against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on December 13, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints placed Michael Thomas on the physically unable to perform list as they open training camp, according to ESPN's Field Yates.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Wednesday the team was optimistic he'll be "cleared at some point early in camp."

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

From <a href="https://twitter.com/NFLTotalAccess?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLTotalAccess</a>: There is optimism surrounding the health of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Saints?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Saints</a> offensive starters QB Jameis Winston and WR Michael Thomas as they face an important camp under new coach Dennis Allen. <a href="https://t.co/lY5o8jToiN">pic.twitter.com/lY5o8jToiN</a>

Ankle injuries kept Thomas out for the entire 2021 season. He had ankle surgery last offseason and began the regular season on the physically unable to perform list.

Even though Thomas was eligible to return from the PUP list in Week 7, he remained out of action. The 28-year-old announced on Nov. 3 he would miss the entire season because of "another small set back" in his recovery.

Michael Thomas @Cantguardmike

<a href="https://t.co/cwok7uP1cd">pic.twitter.com/cwok7uP1cd</a>

This marks the second consecutive year that ankle injuries have caused Thomas problems. He missed nine games in 2020 because of a high ankle sprain suffered in Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Prior to 2021, Thomas had been one of the most durable and productive receivers in the NFL. He averaged 117.5 receptions, 1,378 yards and eight touchdowns from 2016-19.

The Saints did find ways to adjust without Thomas in 2021. Alvin Kamara essentially filled the void as the go-to option in the 2020 season with a career-high 240 carries. They added Chris Olave with the No. 11 pick in the 2022 draft to ease the burden on Thomas.