Thomas sat out the team's Week 5 contest against the Los Angeles Chargers due to disciplinary reasons after reportedly getting into a confrontation with teammates and coaches.
The receiver has also been dealing with an ankle injury, and while Payton was noncommittal on the possibility of Thomas returning this Sunday, he did offer some optimism.
"We'll see. I think he's feeling better. We really don't get into injuries or predictions, so you guys will be the first to know," Payton said.
The Saints are coming off their bye week, giving Thomas some additional time to recuperate.
New Orleans has relied heavily on Alvin Kamara in Thomas' absence, as the running back has tallied 676 yards from scrimmage this season. The potential return of the three-time Pro Bowl receiver would give the Saints even more firepower on offense.
Thomas led the league in receptions (149) and receiving yards (1725) last season.