New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas Q&A: Ankle injury still lingers
METAIRIE Ė I'm no doctor but it seems as if injured New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas isnít any closer to getting back on the field today than six weeks ago.
That feeling is based on information gleaned from Thomas during a revealing10-minute interview Thursday during the teamís open locker room period.
The fourth-year running back is expected to miss his sixth consecutive game when the Saints (5-3) visit the Carolina Panthers (1-6) at noon Sunday at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.
Thomas presently is getting around with the aid of crutches and a walking boot to relieve pressure on his sprained left ankle, first suffered during the waning seconds of regulation in the Saintsí 27-24 loss in overtime to the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 26.
The day after the game, Saints Coach Sean Payton informed the media that Thomas had not suffered a high ankle sprain. In fact, the team announced that Thomas had practiced on a limited basis on the Friday (Oct. 1) before the Carolina game (Oct. 3) and that his playing status would be a game time decision.
Now speed forward to Thursday when a gaggle of reporters caught up with Thomas in the locker room:
Q: What is the current prognosis?
Thomas: This week they want me in a boot and next week I could get off the crutches and start walking around in a boot because they still want me to take pressure off the ankle.
Q: Is the idea that rest would help the healing process?
Thomas: Yeah, to let it heal.
Q: What happens if rest doesnít work? Is surgery the next option?
Thomas: I donít know. I donít know. Iím just doing what Iím told. I donít know what is wrong, whatís the problem. Iím just doing what Iím told.
Q: Was this injury possibly misdiagnosed? Was something not caught five, six weeks ago?
Thomas: That could be it. But they found something else, I believe. They just told me, ĎHey, for now, stay off of it ícause it seemed like the times when I was doing rehab it wasnít working.í So, they just said letís give you a little bit more time and stay off it. So thatís what Iím doing right now.
Q: What is the current diagnosis? Is it a high ankle sprain? Is it a low ankle sprain? Is it ligament damage?
Thomas: Theyíre still saying itís a sprain. Thatís what Iím being told.
Q: You went back in for a play after first being injured against Atlanta. Was that a mistake?
Thomas: My whole mindset is if anything happens to me on that field, how do I know if that (couldnít be) the last game of my career? So my attitude is finish it out, you never know. That could be the last game of my career. As I approach every game, Iím going to play that game out and Iím going to finish the game as best I can. And Iíll be proud of myself and say, ĎHey, that was the last game of my career, I finished the game. I fought through an injury and I finished the game.í Iíll be proud of myself doing that. If I can play through an injury and that was something I continued to play with. It hurt, yeah, at that time, but Iíll deal with it when the game is over with. Iím going to play through any injury I have.
Q: Does this being a contract year for you enter into your thinking at all?
Thomas: Iím worried about the season. Iím not thinking about no contract. The contract will come when next year comes around. Iím not thinking about no contract right now. Iím thinking about my ankle and how can I get it better because this is frustrating me and I want to get back on that field. I love playing this game, and one thing that Iím missing so much is this game. The only thing that is holding me back right now is my ankle.
Q: Have you ever had a high ankle sprain?
Thomas: Yes but nothing this serious.
Q: Does this feel like a high ankle sprain?
Thomas: Honestly, I feel it all over my ankle. I feel pain all over my ankle. When you touch it, I feel pain all over my ankle. They touch different spots, I say, ĎYeah, I feel it there, I feel it there, I feel it there.í So, I really messed it up. They say I really messed it up pretty bad.
Q: Have you ever had torn ligaments?
Thomas: No, Iíve never had torn ligaments in my ankle.
Q: Are you getting any conflicting reports from your doctors? Does one doctor think this, does another doctor think that?
Thomas: They talk amongst themselves. They just report back to me at what I need to do to get better. Iím listening to whatever I have to do to get back on that field.
Q: Are you being a good patient and asking all the right questions. For instance, is surgery a possibility? Have you asked that question?
Thomas: I donít even want to think about that. I donít want to have surgery. I knew that if I have surgery, Iím done this season. Iím not thinking that. I donít want that. Iím going to take that negativity and throw it away Ďcause Iím thinking positive. Iím thinking I want to get back on that field.
Q: So they havenít suggested surgery?
Thomas: No, I wasnít told that.
Q: Who is the point person on the medical staff? Who tells you whatís going on with your rehab?
Thomas: With the rehab, itís (head athletic trainer) Scottie (Patton). Iíve talked with the doctor here, the team doctor, (team orthopedist) Dr. (Deryk) Jones, a few times, and heís said it looks like itís getting better. They see some of the swelling going down and they see the veins in my ankle, so thatís a good thing. They just tell me what I have to do for rehab to help get it better and help strengthen it.
Q: Would we as a media be wrong to report it as a high ankle sprain?
Thomas: That is something youíll have to ask my trainer. Youíll have to go interview him about that because Iím just being told what I have to do.
Q: Theyíre not using that term - high ankle sprain?
Thomas: They just said it was a bad ankle sprain. Thatís what Iíve been told.
NOTE: NewOrleans.com reported Wednesday that Saints officials had tried to deal Thomas to the New England Patriots prior to the league's trading deadline Oct. 19. The Saints apparently wanted a cornerback in return. The Patriots, according to a source, also wanted a draft pick. Thomas was unaware of the report and said he would be shocked and disheartened if it were true. "Business is business, huh?'' he said.
Good. That to me says a lot. He backed up his injury with Doctors and trainers. He has an uncommon unjury. I'm not questioning it anymore. PT made the Saints invincible last season and he sincerely wants to get back out there but is unable.
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