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USATSI

You won't see Michael Thomas on the field when the New Orleans Saints take on the Las Vegas Raiders on "Monday Night Football" in Week 2, as the star receiver has been ruled out of the upcoming clash. While not entirely unexpected, the absence of Thomas is a gut punch to Sean Payton's offense, considering the All-Pro is a record-setting receiver whose tether to Drew Brees creates one of the most prolific tandems in the NFL. Thomas was unable to practice all week with what's been described as a high ankle sprain suffered in the team's Week 1 win over Tom Brady and the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and there's been speculation he could be heading to injured reserve.

That's a move the Saints have not decided to make as of yet, as it would prevent Thomas from returning to the field for at least three weeks. Until further notice, the club is treating him as week-to-week and will lean heavily on Emmanuel Sanders until Thomas is healthy enough to get back to dominating opposing defenses. 

The former second-round pick has been a nuclear weapon for the Saints since getting the nod with the 47th-overall pick in 2016. In only four short years, Thomas has amassed three Pro Bowl nods and two first-team All-Pro honors, having also been named NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 2019 and leading the league in receptions the last two seasons. He signed a record-setting five-year, $100 million contract with $61 million guaranteed in July 2019 and didn't miss a step once his pockets got heavier. One of the more durable receivers in the league, he's missed just seven starts in four years, with four of them coming as a rookie.

Thomas will likely try to fight his way back onto the field sooner rather than later, a testament to a high-motor player who racked up 1,725 receiving yards just last season, but he won't get a chance to add to his already illustrious resume on Monday night. And that makes for one less weapon the Raiders have to worry about trying to contain -- also the most dangerous one.