Saints WR Michael Thomas (ankle) returns to practice after brief stay on PUP list

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Michael Thomas’ stay on the physically unable to perform list, thankfully, did not last long.

Thomas was back on the practice field on Wednesday, participating in individual drills and running routes without defensive coverage while sitting out of team portions of the session.

Thomas began camp on the PUP list in what could have been seen as yet another hurdle (if not setback) for the receiver who opted to undergo surgery less than two months before the start of 2021 training camp and subsequently missed the entire season. His ankle kept him off the field during offseason activities in 2022, and the news of his placement on the PUP list last week wasn’t encouraging.

With this in mind, Thomas’ return Wednesday was a surprise to most everyone except the receiver, who told reporters afterward he knew he’d pass the tests necessary to return to action.

Back 💪@Cantguardmike #Saints pic.twitter.com/XVEj15p7M7

Wednesday marked a significant step in what has been a long and frustrating journey for Thomas, who has battled through an ankle injury that dated back to the 2020 season.

“You almost have to challenge yourself to stay positive,” Thomas said. “If you know it’s going to be challenging, you have to accept the challenge. Once you accept the challenge, that’s when you handle your business.”

Thomas’ return is a big morale boost for the Saints, who struggled through the 2021 season without him and have since bolstered their receiving corps with the likes of first-round pick Chris Olave — a fellow Ohio State product — and veteran Jarvis Landry. Adding Thomas into the mix only makes that group stronger.

Now, it’s up to Thomas to continue on this positive track toward again becoming a legitimate playmaker for the Saints.

“I’m very confident,” he said of his health status. “Even the year that I played, I was playing injured and I was still kind of helping this team win games and move the chains. I was literally on one ankle. My ankle was the same as when I had to go get the surgery. Same injury early in the season but I played on it. Pushed through that and I’m just happy to be trending now in the right direction.”

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