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Michael Thomas returns to Saints practice amid trade rumors, prepares for Bears

Michael Thomas, Drew Brees, Khalil Mack, trade rumors, Bears

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas could be heading towards his return from inactivity on Sunday against the Chicago Bears.

Thomas took the practice field on Thursday, a sign he is progressing towards “Active” status this weekend (via Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football).

The Saints All-Pro receiver has not played since Week 1 due to a hamstring injury, and the ensuing six weeks have been something of a circus.

Thomas initially appeared motivated to return from the ailment immediately, foregoing a trip to the injured reserve.

Not only was Thomas unable to return to the field, but he also began making headlines off the field.

Thomas got into a fight with Saints defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, prompting what essentially amounted to a suspension. Recent weeks have brought about trade rumors, with some sources indicating Thomas’ camp would prefer the Saints to move him before the deadline.

However, Saints head coach Sean Payton denied those rumors, and New Orleans will hope Thomas can make a successful return this weekend.

The Saints are on the heels of a three-game winning streak, and quarterback Drew Brees has managed to string together some good outings despite Thomas’ absence.

Emmanuel Sanders has been a major factor, hauling in 18 receptions and 215 yards combined between Weeks 4 and 5. Tre’Quan Smith has also made an impact, giving Brees some reliability on the outside. But the Saints will need all the offensive weapons they have against a tough Bears defense.

Thomas has had quite a bit of time to get healthy, and should be energized to make a big impact in his return, if it comes Sunday.