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Saints CB Lattimore, WR Thomas not expected to play in Week 17

Marshon Lattimore New Orleans Saints Marshon Lattimore - The Canadian Press

METAIRIE, La. (AP) — New Orleans Saints coach Dennis Allen all but ruled out the return of top cornerback Marshon Lattimore or starting receiver Michael Thomas for Sunday's game at Tampa Bay.

Both players have been eligible to return from injured reserve since least week, but on Tuesday, Allen said, “I don’t know that I expect to see those guys” at practice this week.

Allen also was vague about either player's prospects for returning before the regular-season finale at home against Atlanta on Jan. 7.

“We just play each week out as they go,” Allen said.

Lattimore (ankle) and Thomas (knee) both were injured during a Week 10 loss at Minnesota

The 30-year-old Thomas, a two-time All-Pro who in 2019 set an NFL record with 149 catches in a season, has 39 catches for 448 yards and one touchdown in 10 games this season. He is playing on a one-year contract that was negotiated last offseason after he'd appeared in just 10 regular-season games combined during the previous three regular seasons.

Lattimore, 27, also played in 10 games this season. He intercepted one pass and has eight passes defensed. He also has 48 solo and assisted tackles combined, two for losses.

Lattimore is in the second year of a five-year, $97.6 million contract.

He has been in notable on-the-field scuffles also involving top Tampa Bay receiver Mike Evans more than once, making their personal rivalry a subplot to Saints-Buccaneers games when both players are active.

That apparently won't be the case this weekend, leaving Allen, who oversees the defense, to come up with alternative plans to cover Evans, who has 1,163 yards and 13 TDs receiving this season.