USA Today

The New Orleans Saints will again not have one of their best offensive players when they take the field in primetime on Monday night to take on the Los Angeles Chargers. On Sunday afternoon, the Saints officially ruled out wide receiver Michael Thomas for Week 5, which will make it four straight games Thomas has missed due to injury. Interestingly enough, Thomas being ruled out this week reportedly had nothing to do with his injury. According to Katherine Terrell of The Athletic, Thomas will not be playing because of a team disciplinary issue. 

The three-time Pro Bowler sustained a high-ankle injury during the Saints' season-opening win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after he was rolled up on by running back Alvin Kamara late in the matchup. Initially, Thomas wasn't expected to miss much time, but he ended up missing the next three games. Thomas was officially listed as questionable for Week 5 after being a limited participant all week in practice.

Thomas is coming off of a record-setting campaign in 2019, where he recorded the most receptions (149) in a single season in NFL history. Thomas also led the league with 1,725 yards receiving and added nine touchdowns. The Saints are currently tied for second place in the NFC South at 2-2, but have a chance to move into first with a win over the Chargers this week. 

Naturally, Thomas' absence has been noticeable on offense, and Drew Brees has received criticism for his inability or unwillingness to throw downfield. While he isn't necessarily the Saints' No. 1 downfield threat, Thomas is still Brees' go-to weapon on the outside. Emmanuel Sanders has finally appeared to find his footing in New Orleans with Thomas out, as he has caught 10 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown over the last two games. Expect him to continue to receive plenty of targets this week against a Chargers defense that allows an average of 263 passing yards per game.