Saints’ Payton critical of how Thomas’ injury was handled

METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Saints coach Sean Payton says Michael Thomas’ ankle surgery should have been performed earlier than in June and apparently will force the Saints to play some games without the star receiver. But Payton is declining to assign blame for delays in Thomas’ return to the field. Payton spoke Wednesday during his traditional interview session on the eve of the first practice of training camp. General manager Micky Loomis says some expected Thomas’ injury to heal without surgery. He says it became apparent during minicamp in June that Thomas’ ankle “wasn’t quite right.” Thomas missed nine games last season.