Reports surfaced on Sunday afternoon that Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has suffered a severe hand injury during a fireworks accident on Independence Day in Florida. According to Twitter, the star pass rusher collected a massive haul of fireworks in preparation for a July 4 celebration, but things didn’t go as planned.
Now, Pierre-Paul is reportedly missing flesh from his hand, although he has come away from the incident with all fingers intact. We don’t know how long the injury will hold Pierre-Paul out of football activities, but it is not supposed to be career-threatening.
Late on Monday night, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Pierre-Paul has burns on his palm as well as three fingers. One finger could have nerve damage, but the defensive end is going to eventually be okay according to the Giants.
Before the injury, Pierre-Paul was supposed to be a big part of New York’s defense. Coming off of a season in which he recorded 12.5 sacks and improved his run defense, Pierre-Paul was an easy target for the Giants when it came to handing out the special one-year contract known as the franchise tag. Whether he’s healthy enough to play or not, Pierre-Paul will earn over $14 million this season to be the most talented pass rusher on the roster.
If Pierre-Paul were to miss time, the Giants would have to depend a lot on veterans like Robert Ayers and new acquisition George Selvie to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The team also drafted defensive end Owa Odighizuwa out of UCLA in the third round of this spring’s NFL Draft. While the rookie could be a breakout star this year because of his impressive athleticism, he’s more likely to take a little while to mature into a dependable player.
That’s why the Giants have to hope that Pierre-Paul regains full health following this scary injury. The pass rush just isn’t a very intimidating unit without him on the field. We know that defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has had success with the Giants before, but he needed several great pass rushers to pull off the wins that led to the Super Bowl title in 2007. Without Pierre-Paul, even reaching the playoffs in 2015 becomes a major issue.
Coming into the 2015 campaign, we knew that the Giants had to avoid at least some of the injuries that held them back during the past two seasons. We’re not off to a good start in that regard, and training camp hasn’t even begun.