METAIRIE, La. — New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas underwent ankle surgery in June and could miss time at the start of the season as a result, a source told ESPN, confirming multiple reports.
Thomas, 28, was plagued by the ankle injury throughout last season, and ESPN’s Adam Schefter previously reported that he was expected to undergo surgery to repair the torn deltoid and other injured ligaments in his ankle.
It is unclear why Thomas had surgery so late in the offseason, but the goal is a full recovery.
Thomas missed nine games during two separate stints on injured reserve last year after initially injuring the ankle in Week 1. He finished with 40 catches for 438 yards in the regular season and didn’t catch his first touchdown pass until the playoffs.
Not having Thomas available would increase the degree of difficulty for Saints quarterbacks Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill as they battle to replace the retired Drew Brees. The Saints were already thin on playmakers after parting ways with No. 2 wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and tight ends Jared Cook and Josh Hill this offseason.
The Saints recently created more than $10 million in cap space through contract restructures and extensions and could look to add another veteran wide receiver as they approach the start of training camp next week. They will also be counting heavily on fourth-year receiver Tre’Quan Smith, second-year receiver Marquez Callaway, third-year receiver Deonte Harris and second-year tight end Adam Trautman, among others.