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How long is Michael Thomas out? Injury timeline, return date, latest news on Saints WR

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The Saints were hoping that they would finally have Michael Thomas fully healthy for the first time since he generated an NFL-record 149 catches and 1,725 yards during the 2019 season.

However, that was not meant to be.

Thomas went down with what was deemed a foot injury in Week 3. While it wasn’t expected to be serious, he remained out of the lineup and had many Saints fans and fantasy football players wondering when he would return.

On Thursday, the Saints gave their answer, and it’s not one that anybody wanted to hear.

What’s wrong with Michael Thomas and just how long is he out? Here’s what to know about the veteran receiver as the Saints try to become a winning team without him.

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How long is Michael Thomas out?

Thomas is set to miss the rest of the season as a result of a toe injury. There had been some optimism that he would be able to return after he first suffered the injury in the team’s Week 3 loss to the Panthers.

However, coach Dennis Allen announced on Thursday, Nov. 3 that he didn’t expect Thomas to play for the rest of the season, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Thomas was placed on IR as a result of his toe injury, so at a minimum, he would have to miss four games. That would give him the opportunity to potentially return in Week 13 if he were healthy, but it doesn’t sound like that will be the case.

If Thomas remains out the rest of the season, he will have played in just 10 of a possible 50 games over the last three seasons. It would also likely put his future standing with the Saints in jeopardy.

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What is Michael Thomas’ injury?

Before Thursday, Thomas’ injury had been reported as a foot or toe problem. However, it was revealed during Allen’s news conference that Thomas had been dealing with a dislocated second toe, per NewOrleans.Football’s Nick Underhill.

According to Banner Health, a toe dislocation can take anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks to heal. Thomas had been sidelined five weeks at the time of his move to IR.

And per Luke Johnson of the New Orleans Advocate, Allen explained there was a “complication” with the injury.

“The toe did not respond how we were hoping,” the Saints coach said.

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Michael Thomas injury timeline

Thomas first suffered a toe injury during the Saints at Panthers game on Sept. 25, 2022. He was declared doubtful to return to the game but NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the injury wasn’t expected to be serious the following day.

Despite this diagnosis, Thomas was unable to practice ahead of Week 4 and was declared out for New Orleans’ Week 4 matchup with the Vikings in London. That began a pattern of Thomas failing to practice and being unable to play for several weeks.

Then, ahead of Week 9, Allen and the Saints finally decided to pull the plug on Thomas and place him on IR. It’s unclear whether the “complication” as described by Johnson was the reason for their change of heart or whether they had simply had enough of trying to push Thomas to return.

Thomas finished the season with 16 catches for 171 yards and three touchdowns.

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Michael Thomas injury updates

— Nov. 3: Thomas is placed on IR with Allen saying that he doesn’t expect the 29-year-old to return in 2022. It is revealed that Thomas was dealing with a dislocated second toe and suffered a “complication” with it. 

— Oct. 28: Thomas is ruled out after not practicing for a fifth consecutive week. He misses the Saints’ 24-0 win over the Raiders and Dennis Allen declines to specify a timetable for Thomas’ return.

— Oct. 19: After failing to practice again, Thomas is declared out for the Saints vs. Cardinals game in Week 7.

— Oct. 17: Jeff Duncan of The Times-Picayune reports that Thomas is not expected to play on “Thursday Night Football” in Week 7.

— Oct. 14: Schefter is proven wrong. Thomas fails to practice for a third consecutive week and is declared out for the contest.

— Oct. 9: ESPN’s Adam Schefter provides some positive news to Thomas’ fantasy owners: the veteran receiver is “likely to be able return” against the Bengals in Week 6.

— Oct. 7: Thomas fails to practice for a second consecutive week and is ruled out against the Seahawks in Week 5 as a result.

— Sept. 30: After failing to practice ahead of Week 4 against the Vikings, Thomas is declared out because of a toe injury.

— Sept. 26: NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that neither the injury to Michael Thomas nor Jarvis Landry is expected to be serious. He also details that Thomas’ injury is not in the same foot in which he suffered an ankle injury that cost him the 2021 NFL season.

— Sept. 25: Thomas suffers what is reported as a foot injury against the Panthers. He is declared doubtful to return after attempting to loosen up on the sidelines.


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