The 5-6 New Orleans Saints have had a below-par season in 2023, but second-year star Chris Olave is quickly becoming a franchise cornerstone. The team’s 2022 first-round pick out of Ohio State enjoyed a tremendous rookie season, recording 72 catches for 1,042 yards and four touchdowns in 15 games.
In 2023, Olave has taken a leap forward. The young wide receiver has 63 catches for 771 receiving yards and three touchdowns in only 11 games. Olave has passed veteran wide receiver Michael Thomas as the top threat in the Saints’ passing game. His importance to his team’s success on offense has made his availability very important to the team.
And so, Olave’s absence in the team’s next game against the Detroit Lions could be detrimental to their odds of winning the tight race for the NFC South division battle.
What happened to Chris Olave?
During the Saints’ divisional battle against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 12, Chris Olave was having his best game of the season. The wide receiver had racked up 114 yards in only seven catches in two and a half quarters.
But midway through the third quarter, disaster struck for the Saints. Olave tried to outjump Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell and haul in a sideline catch. But the defender broke up the pass, and the wide receiver landed headfirst on the ground. He was escorted to the medical tent after the play before being taken to the locker room for further evaluation. He was later ruled out of the game with a concussion.
Chris Olave Injury Update
Olave is in the NFL’s concussion protocol and will likely miss the Saints’ home game against the Lions in Week 14. There’s a slim possibility that the wide receiver clears concussion protocol, however, the odds are stacked against him.
Olave’s injury is a massive blow for the Saints, who will be without Michael Thomas and potentially Rashid Shaheed. The former has a knee injury that will keep him sidelined against the Lions, while the latter picked up a thigh injury in the 24-15 loss to the Falcons.
#Update: As of Friday, Olave is still placed in the concussion protocol. However, he still has a chance to play in Week 13.
When will Chris Olave return?
Olave could potentially return to the Saints’ starting lineup in their Week 15 divisional matchup against the struggling Carolina Panthers. That game will be a must-win for the Saints’ hopes of beating the Falcons to the NFC South division title.