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Michael Thomas benched for Week 5 matchup vs. Chargers due to practice fight

Michael Thomas has been suspended for Week 5 following an altercation with a teammate at practice.

Michael Thomas of the New Orleans Saints looks on before the NFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings at Mercedes Benz Superdome on January 05, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana.      Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

New Orleans Saints wideout Michael Thomas appeared to be on track to return from a three-game hiatus caused by a high ankle sprain in Week 5, but he’s been unofficially suspended ahead of his team’s Monday matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Thomas is being held out because of an altercation he had with a teammate at practice, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. He is said to have punched teammate Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, according to Tom Pelissero.

Thomas was sent home from practice on Friday and was fined after meeting with Sean Payton, according to Josina Anderson. He’s expected to return to the Saints in Week 7 after their Week 6 bye. Thomas is expected to give New Orleans a much-needed boost through the air.

The Saints usually have one of the NFL’s best passing attacks, but they’ve been a middle-of-the-road team passing the football so far. Drew Brees neglected to show that he can stretch the field with his arm for most of the season. Tre’Quan Smith and Emmanuel Sanders haven’t been good fill-ins, so New Orleans’ offense has had to rely on Alvin Kamara heavily. Kamara leads the Saints in rushing (236) and (321).

Thomas only caught three passes for 17 yards in the season opener but is coming off a year in which he broke the NFL’s record for receptions in a single season (149) while also leading the league in receiving yards (1,725) and targets (185). If Thomas returns in Week 7, he’ll be matched up the Carolina Panthers in a divisional game. Thomas will get extra time to rest his ankle sprain thanks to the Saints’ Week 6 bye.