Likely season-ending surgery for Michael Thomas is unfortunate for all involved

This is a gut punch. Michael Thomas is going on injured reserve, again, with what looks like another season-ending injury — when asked about a timeline for his return, New Orleans Saints head coach Dennis Allen expressed pessimism that he’ll be able to suit up again this year.

Given the way his contract is laid out, Thomas may have already suited up for New Orleans for the last time — the Saints are on the hook for salary cap hits of $28.2 million in 2023 and $27.5 million in 2024, which would be in line with what top receivers around the league are seeing when healthy. But this latest injury jeopardizes his future with the team.

And it’s got a bizarre and vocal contingent of weirdos online celebrating his struggles. There are people who call themselves Saints fans acting like Thomas has taken money out of their pockets and food from their children’s plates. They’re talking recklessly and lashing out without reason.

So let’s clear up some misconceptions. This isn’t the same situation we’ve seen before. When Thomas injured his ankle back in 2020, he gutted through it to help Drew Brees chase one last Super Bowl. His relationship with the team frayed at that point, he ghosted them throughout the offseason, and he didn’t undergo surgery until the eve of training camp. That procedure didn’t go as well as hoped, he needed a follow-up surgery, and he was lost for the 2021 season.

Things are different now. Thomas has followed the team’s advice every step of the way. It’s not like they told him to get surgery in September and he stopped showing up to the facility. He’s been working on their timetable — “working his tail off” as Allen put it recently — and doing what he’s told to get healthy and help the team. He’s been actively cheering on teammates from the sideline at games. The Saints could have put him on injured reserve when he dislocated his toe (in his other foot, not the same one with an injured back previously) but they thought he’d be back in three or four weeks and continued to roster him.

Now, after he’s continued to follow doctor’s orders, Thomas underwent a new MRI scan and everyone learned bad news: the toe didn’t heal with rest and treatment as they hoped, and now, again according to the team medical staff, is the time to get surgery. That’s what Thomas is doing. He’s put his trust in the team medical staff, followed their advice, and it hasn’t worked out anyway. And ignorant bozos on Twitter and in Facebook comments sections are trashing him. It’s a bad look for themselves and the fanbase they claim to represent.

Hopefully Thomas heals up and returns to reach his previous heights some day. It’s tough to see that happening in New Orleans. One of Allen’s first victories as Saints head coach was mending that relationship with Thomas as a star player who had grown disgruntled with previous management. Everyone did what they were supposed to in this situation and it still didn’t work out. But that’s life. Things don’t always go as planned. We’ll just have to hope for a positive resolution one way or another. Spewing negativity and ripping into Thomas for no fault of his own isn’t the way.

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Story originally appeared on Saints Wire