An already shorthanded New Orleans Saints receiving corps could be running even more thin during Week 13’s game with the Detroit Lions. With Michael Thomas out of action on injured reserve with a knee injury, the Saints planned to lean heavier on second-year pros Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed — but they both went down with injuries of their own in Sunday’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
Olave suffered a concussion after slamming his head to the turf in an awkward fall, having adjusted to an underthrown pass from Derek Carr deep down the sideline. Most players in the concussion protocol this season have had to miss about two weeks before being cleared to return to the field, so it’s unlikely Olave will be cleared in time to play next Sunday. This is his second concussion in his first two years with the Saints.
Shaheed was hurt a thigh muscle on the first play of the Falcons game, and he initially tried to play through it. But adjusting to more off-target passes from Carr aggravated his injury and he was shut down by halftime. Saints coach Dennis Allen said Monday that while Shaheed avoided a major, season-ending injury it would be tough for him to play this week. We’ll have to see how his availability looks moving forwards.
If those two (plus Thomas) can’t go on Sunday, the Saints will be relying on rookie draft pick A.T. Perry, veterans Lynn Bowden Jr. and Keith Kirkwood, and practice squad receivers Marquez Callaway and Jontre Kirklin to lead the way. The Lions have a vulnerable pass defense, but the Saints might not have enough weapons to take advantage of it.