Pierre Thomas Injury As Bad As Saints Medical Staff
Saints and Hornets correspondent Gus Kattengail broke the story of Pierre Thomas' ankle injury being mishandled by the Saints medical staff on the Great S.C.O.T.T. show tonight. Thomas still doesn't know the complete nature and extent of his injury. He was on crutches today, 31 days after spraining his ankle against the Atlanta Falcons. Any ankle sprain aside from a high ankle sprain would have healed by now. Pierre got a second opinion, after his ankle was not responding to treatment given by the Saints medical staff. Coach Sean Payton said a "local foot and ankle specialist," had been called in recently, becoming the third physician to examine Thomas. It appears Thomas probably has a high ankle sprain, or possibly worse, though Sean Payton will not confirm that report. Gus told us that the third specialist though it'd be best for Thomas to lessen the workload in rehab. Thomas told the media today, "I really don't know what the whole problem is. Everybody keeps saying its sprained or maybe a little tear there, I don't know for sure if that's true. I'm hearing so many different stories I don't know what to believe. All I'm thinking about is how to get healthy, how can I get better. I was told to stay off it so that's what I'm doing."
Sean Payton claimed surgery has not been discussed up to this point, but Gus made the point that it could potentially still be an option. His ankle has not healed, or begun to heal properly, after more than a month of treatment. Again, according to the foot and ankle specialist, Thomas needs to lighten his workload. It's a strong possibility that Thomas has worsened his ankle with the rehab and medical diagnosis of the Saints medical staff. Best case scenario he'll be healed and back in the lineup after the bye week against Seattle, or maybe on Thanksgiving at Dallas. Time and more medical opinions will tell, but Thomas will not play this week, and may not play again this season. Hopefully a third medical opinion will diagnose the injury properly, and he'll be back on the field this season. This isn't the first case of the Saints medical staff misdiagnosing an injury, as they had several misdiagnoses in the past (i.e. Jeremy Shockey, Usama Young, etc.).
Sean Payton should trust the word of his players more than that of a medical staff. Especially a player like Thomas, who has done nothing to show he wouldn't play through pain, or do everything in his power to get back on the field. Pierre Thomas is also in a contract year, and the more time he spends on the sidelines the more it hurts his future contract. For Sean Payton to give Jay Glazer a report than he's frustrated with Thomas and how he's handled rehab, completely backfired on Payton. Sean Payton said on Monday that whatever happens between him and Pierre Thomas is only between them and the team. Since when is Jay Glazer a member of the New Orleans Saints? Sean Payton has all but commanded his players to never talk about their injuries, and to keep it in house. Why didn't he do that? I believe Payton leaked his opinion to the national media to try to light a fire under Pierre Thomas. Based on history and the fact that Pierre is in a contract year, Thomas doesn't need a fire lit under him.
He's also been rehabbing in the facility, with the medical staff in house. Pierre Thomas has done nothing wrong. He's only trusted the word of his Coach, his medical staff, and his team. Thomas has played with cracked ribs, sprains, and various injuries in the past. Nobody has ever questions his heart, will to win, and want to play. Sean Payton is a great head coach that led the New Orleans Saints to a Super Bowl championship. That doesn't make him perfect. This could potentially be one of Payton's biggest mistakes as head coach of the Saints. Has he marred the relationship with one of the Saints best players in Pierre Thomas? Has he lost credibility amongst his team in regards to injury information? Will he demand that the Saints make changes to their medical staff, which has misdiagnosed injuries since he's been head coach? Time will tell, but Payton needs to start curing his relationship with Pierre Thomas as fast as he wanted Thomas' ankle to heal.