It’s going to be another tough week for the Saints offense. Jameis Winston and Michael Thomas haven’t been spotted at practice this week after missing week 4 and are unlikely to be available on Sunday. Alvin Kamara is likely to return, although he still comes with a High Injury Risk.
Jameis Winston has already had a tough season. He was limited throughout training camp as he worked his way back from a torn ACL. Winston was cleared to play in week 1 but injured his back. Scans showed four fractures, likely transverse process fractures. These can be very painful but don’t provide any structural support to the back or spine. Now a month removed from the injury these shouldn’t be a huge concern going forward. His ankle sprain, though, is concerning. It affected his mobility in week 3 and needs more time to heal. Winston is also reportedly dealing with a hip injury, so there’s a lot going on. He needs another week to focus on rehab and all-around strengthening so he can avoid another setback when he does return.
Michael Thomas was also limited in August after missing all of 2021 with multiple ankle surgeries. He looked great in the first few games back this year but is now dealing with a foot injury. This is likely a case of turf toe, which can be very painful. It’s especially tough on WRs and RBs, who push off of the ball of the foot every time they go to run a route or change direction. Thomas missed week 4 and started off week 5 with a DNP so he is unlikely to be available. It is to the opposite leg that he had ankle surgery on. Thomas already came with a very High Injury Risk, and now it’s at an even more concerning level. The Saints need to be very careful with him if they want him to survive the season.
Now finally on to some good news. Alvin Kamara is expected to be available. Kamara suffered rib cartilage fractures in week 1 and missed week 2. He returned in week 3 but didn’t look like himself and was a surprise inactive in week 4. Now he is on track to return. Kamara’s rib cartilage still needs a few more weeks to heal, but he should be in a lot less pain at this point. An injection before the game can also help with this. Kamara’s Injury Risk remains High due to a combination of his injury history and the latest rib injury. Rib cartilage fractures are often slower to heal and more painful than a rib fracture.
Heading into week 5 the Saints Team Health Score has improved significantly, now at a 5.5. They are still at a disadvantage against the Seahawks, who comes with a 7.59. That’s a pretty big difference. The Saints are favored by 5.5, but our algorithm is projecting they won’t be able to cover. Bet on the Seahawks this weekend due to their Team Health Score.