Saints WR Michael Thomas (ankle) participates in workforce drills Saturday

Michael Thomas hasn’t performed in an NFL recreation since January of 2021, however studies from coaching camp recommend the large receiver has accomplished an important step within the lengthy strategy of getting again on the sphere.

NFL Community Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Thomas participated in workforce drills in the course of the Saints’ observe Saturday, noting that Thomas is a “full-go” for coaching camp. It’s an encouraging improvement within the ongoing saga of Thomas’ lengthy restoration from ankle surgical procedure that has stored him on the sidelines for over a yr.

The wideout initially injured his ankle in Week 1 of the 2020 season, and whereas he fought via the ache he struggled, recording simply 40 catches and 438 receiving yards in solely seven video games performed.

Thomas determined to have surgical procedure on the ankle in June of the next offseason to deal with the problem, with the preliminary timetable for his return about 4 months. However Thomas ended up not enjoying in any respect in 2021, and was nonetheless not 100% getting into this offseason’s exercise applications.

The restoration course of was has been gradual going, as Thomas didn’t take part in organized workforce actions and began coaching camp on the bodily unable to carry out checklist, however with Thomas being cleared for particular person drills Wednesday and workforce drills on Saturday, it is wanting like he is lastly able to make his return.

It is welcome information for the Saints, whose receiver corps struggled significantly with out the three-time Professional Bowler in 2021. New Orleans completed final within the league in complete receiving yards, and no participant collected greater than 700 yards receiving.

Thomas recorded not less than 1,100 receiving yards in his first 4 seasons and led the Saints in receiving yards all 4 of these years, together with the 2019 marketing campaign by which he set the NFL single-season report with 149 receptions.

If his practices proceed to pattern in the suitable path all through the preseason and he can play at his earlier stage this yr, that can be an enormous assist for the Saints offense.

New Orleans additionally addressed final season’s receiving points by buying veteran Jarvis Landry and drafting first-round choose Chris Olave out of Ohio State, so all collectively indicators are pointing to the offense beginning the season in a significantly better place than this time final yr.

So after months of questions over when Thomas would be capable of make his long-awaited return, it seems that the receiver is enjoying at full well being throughout coaching camp and will make his much-anticipated return to the sphere in Week 1.