Bradley Handwerger / Eyewitness Sports

METAIRIE, La. ― Running back Pierre Thomas said Tuesday he expects to have surgery to clean up his injured left ankle, the one that kept him out of 11 games this past season.

But he's not pushing all his chips into the center on the idea of being cut open just yet.

'Honestly right now I feel good,' Thomas said. 'So hopefully I won't need surgery. But I'm going to see this doctor (Dr. Robert Anderson in North Carolina). I've been told surgery, but hopefully this doctor will say, 'Hey, you don't need it.' '

Thomas told reporters Tuesday as players were at the Saints' facility on Airline Drive in Metairie that doctors told him there was no ligament damage, just fluid built up in and around the joint.

Thomas re-injured his ankle the Friday before the Jan. 2 regular season finale. He didn't play again this season and never got back on the practice field before being placed on IR on Jan. 5.

'I just made a real hard cut and it just felt a little funny after that,' Thomas said. 'I just couldn't have that little burst I need. It kept grabbing, something just kept grabbing and grabbing and grabbing. And it was just hurting. I just couldn't take it.'

Thomas now believes he should have taken time to rest his ankle instead of continually trying to get back to the grind and onto the field. He said he would have gotten off his feet right away after the Atlanta game and likely would have been ready for the playoffs.

That said, looking back, Thomas isn't thrilled with his treatment and diagnosis after the Sept. 26 injury.

'Ummm, to tell you the truth, not really, because it's been a roller coaster,' Thomas said. 'Some things I heard were good things, sometimes I heard bad things. And just my season and everything has just been like a roller coaster, just up and down, up and down, up and down.'

The question now is will Thomas be back with the Saints once his ankle heals and the players association and owners come to an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement.

Thomas didn't sign his one-year tender offer prior to the 2010 season until training camp and missed nearly a week of preseason workouts. Upon returning, he injured his wrist on the first day of full contact drills.

Un-sourced reports during the season said head coach Sean Payton was unhappy with the amount of time it took for Thomas to return from his ankle injury.

But months later, Thomas said the two sides have gotten past their disagreements.

'Everybody comes to a disagreement at times, but you know, you get along after that,' Thomas said. 'You don't have a problem. Everybody's not gonna agree with everybody, so you move on from that point. I moved on. I believe they moved on.

'And they told me, 'We love everything you've done for us. We want you back. So I've heard good things from them. I've talked to them. And we left on good terms. So everything is good between me and the Saints, and hopefully everything works out.'

That means Thomas has moved on from reports that he was shopped around before the season. A report said that the Saints were looking to move Thomas to New England, but the trade didn't pan out.

'You can't really take anything personally in this business, because everything's a business,' Thomas said. '... I think it's still a good organization. I'm not saying anything bad about this organization. I still think it's a good organization on the right track. They're doing a lot of good things.'

Thomas finished the 2010 season playing in just six games. He finished with 269 yards and two touchdowns on 83 carries along with 201 yards on 29 catches. He was the second-leading rusher for New Orleans behind rookie Chris Ivory's 716 yards on 137 carries.

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