The best receiver in football officially will miss time with a high ankle sprain.
Saints receiver Michael Thomas, who has played in all but one of his prior 65 regular-season games, has been ruled out for Monday night’s visit to christen the new Raiders stadium.
Running back Latavius Murray rolled up on Thomas’ lower leg during garbage time of Sunday’s win over the Buccaneers. After the game, Thomas was walking in the locker room without a limp — but he was avoiding the training staff. In time, it became clear that Thomas did indeed suffer an injury, and that he’d need some time off to recuperate.
It’s still not clear how long he’ll be out. The Saints didn’t place him on injured reserve this week, which would have cleared a roster spot while also guaranteeing that he’d miss at least three games. Saints coach Sean Payton was asked this week whether Thomas could land on IR, and Payton made it clear that he will not be talking about injuries, period.
Also out for the Saints are defensive end Marcus Davenport (elbow) and linebacker linebacker Chase Hansen (hip).
With Thomas out, players like tight end Jared Cook, running back Alvin Kamara, quarterback Taysom Hill could get more time in the slot. Veteran Emmanuel Sanders also could have more throws come his way, during his second game with the team.
The development guarantees that Thomas won’t beat his 2019 NFL single-season record of 149 receptions, something he wanted to do. At this point, the best play is to let him take whatever time is needed to get back to 100 percent, so that maybe he can set the NFL postseason record for receptions, en route to the more important goal: A Super Bowl win.