Saints WR Thomas participates in 11-on-11 drills

New Orleans Saints large receiver Michael Thomas took the subsequent step in his return to soccer on Saturday.

Thomas participated in 11-on-11 drills for the primary time because the finish of the 2020 season, persevering with a ramp-up course of that has been ongoing because the offseason began. Thomas was solely a spectator at OTAs in June, however he was in a position to apply on Day 1 of coaching camp and returned to 7-on-7 drills on Wednesday.

To date it has been all constructive indicators for his restoration from the damage to his left ankle, which required surgical procedure to restore a torn deltoid and different injured ligaments. Thomas has not been at 100 p.c since he was injured within the 2020 season opener and has not been a full participant in apply because the finish of that season.

Thomas missed the 2021 offseason after having surgical procedure on the ankle and didn’t return to play throughout the common season final yr after a midseason setback.

Saints coach Dennis Allen mentioned on Friday that Thomas’ return to staff drills was coming “quickly,” one thing he joked about on Saturday.

“I advised you it was coming sooner moderately than later proper?” he joked.

Allen mentioned Saturday was a very good day for Thomas to construct confidence within the power of his ankle.

“Actually there was a few instances he ended up on the bottom,” Allen mentioned. “That is all a part of the method in constructing that confidence. I feel he is in a very good mindset proper now, I feel he seems good bodily. I am enthusiastic about the place he is at.”

Thomas started the primary set of staff drills on Saturday with a go from quarterback Jameis Winston, then later tried a catch down the sideline from Winston that was damaged up by cornerback Paulson Adebo. He caught one other go from Winston that was fumbled and recovered by security Tyrann Mathieu, who additionally returned to full staff drills for the primary time on Saturday after lacking the start of camp for private causes.

Thomas completed off his day with a catch from third-team quarterback Ian Book.

“We have sort of held the reins again on him, our determination extra so than it has been his. It is a part of the ramp-up course of and we’ll proceed to ramp him up,” Allen mentioned concerning Mathieu, who returned to apply Wednesday.

It has been a constructive few days for Thomas, who made an announcement on Wednesday by going Three-for-Three in his return to 7-on-7 work. He additionally has regarded sharp in one-on-one work towards defensive backs. It is unknown if Mathieu or Thomas will play within the Saints’ first preseason recreation towards the Texans on Aug. 13.

A shocking no-show at apply was linebacker Kiko Alonso, who has determined to retire, in line with a supply. Alonso was ready to return to soccer after a two-year absence and signed with the Saints on Friday, taking part in that day’s apply session as properly.

He was totally recovered from a torn ACL that occurred with the Saints on the finish of the 2019 season, however modified his thoughts concerning a comeback, electing to remain retired as an alternative. He’ll retire after six seasons and 86 video games within the NFL with the Payments, Eagles, Dolphins and Saints.

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