METAIRIE, La. -- New Orleans Saints receiver Michael Thomas is likely to have surgeries on the torn deltoid and other injured ligaments in his ankle that plagued him all season, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter on Tuesday.
The expectation is that Thomas would be recovered in time for summer OTAs under a normal offseason calendar, the source said.
Thomas first suffered the high ankle injury in the final minutes of Week 1 and missed a total of nine games in the regular season. But the source said he knew it was likely Drew Brees' last season and didn't want to miss out on trying to win a Super Bowl with him.
Thomas often wouldn't practice all week, yet would still play in games, at much less than 100% and with pain medication, the source said. The coaches told him that, even as injured as he was, they were much better off with him than without him.
Thomas went on injured reserve from Weeks 15-17 to try to get as healthy as he could for the playoffs. He returned with five catches for 73 yards and his first touchdown of the season in the wild-card playoff win over the Chicago Bears. However, he had zero catches on four targets in the divisional round playoff loss to Tampa Bay -- including a near-touchdown in which his knee was ruled out of bounds.
Thomas also missed Weeks 2-8 after first suffering the injury, then being disciplined for one game for a practice altercation that included him punching teammate C.J. Gardner-Johnson, and then suffering a hamstring injury during his recovery.
He finished the regular season with 40 catches for 438 yards and zero touchdowns in seven games -- just one season after setting the NFL record with 149 catches in 2019. He did, however, have two games with nine catches and more than 100 yards receiving during Taysom Hill's four-game stint at QB while Brees was sidelined by injuries of his own.
Thomas' 510 career receptions are the most by a player in the first five seasons of his NFL career.