REPORT: Saints WR Michael Thomas to Miss Start of 2021 Season

The Saints will be without one of their top playmakers to begin the year.
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NFL Network's Ian Rapoport tweeted on Friday morning that Saints' wide receiver Michael Thomas is going to miss an extended period of time after undergoing ankle surgery in June. 

Thomas is near the top of the list of elite wide receivers in the NFC South, but with the news that broke this morning, it seems like the Panthers may not face Thomas again this season. The former All-Pro receiver battled injury in 2020 suffering an ankle sprain early in the season, and then a pulled hamstring upon recovery of the ankle sprain.

Due to those two injuries, Thomas missed both games against Carolina last season. It didn't make a significant difference on the scoreboard as the Panthers lost both games, but losing Thomas definitely makes the Saints a little more one-dimensional. If Rapoport's sources have their timeline correct, it looks like Thomas will miss the week two matchup between Carolina and New Orleans in Bank of America Stadium. 

Nobody enjoys seeing players get injured, but Panthers fans have to be a little thankful that they won't see Thomas lining up across from Jaycee Horn in week two. In nine career games against the Panthers, Thomas averages 6 catches, 72 yards, and he's scored a touchdown in four of the nine matchups (including playoffs). 

Between Thomas' injury and the offseason departure of Drew Brees, the Saints are a far cry from the juggernaut they've been for the last couple of seasons. A normally tough week two matchup becomes easier after this news, and the Panthers should be favored to pick up their first win against New Orleans since 2018.