It was far from a lazy Labor Day on Monday at Giants practice. For the first time this summer, Jason Pierre-Paul was in the house. The defensive end, who is technically not under contract until he decides to sign his franchise tag tender, was in East Rutherford to get his physical done.
That’s the first step in what is hopefully a short process of getting Pierre-Paul back on the field for the Giants. Considered the team’s most valuable defensive player in 2014, the man known as JPP put his future with New York in doubt when he severely injured his hand in a July 4 fireworks accident.
Now we’re unsure if Pierre-Paul will ever suit up for the Giants again. If the team’s doctors don’t consider him ready to play, he’ll likely stay unsigned and prepare for the 2015 campaign on his own.
“We’ll see how everything goes and when he can get back to playing,” said Giants quarterback Eli Manning. “So, still a lot of uncertainty. We’ve just got to focus on getting ready for the Cowboys and going out there, everybody doing their job. When he can come back and join us, that’ll be great.”
There was hope over the summer that Pierre-Paul would be able to overcome his injury and start against the Cowboys in Week 1, but that doesn’t look like the case anymore. The Giants will have to face Dallas’s talented offensive line with a motley crew of linemen led by Robert Ayers, Cullen Jenkins, and Johnathan Hankins.
“I don’t know how [Pierre-Paul is] feeling,” said Manning, “Obviously, he wasn’t out there today. So I think you just plan and prepare as if he won’t be out there. If he can back and practice this week —great. If not, we’ll just keep going forward and wait until he gets back.”
That wait could go on all season for the Giants and their fans, but perhaps the result of Sunday night’s clash will change things. If the Giants get smoked by a potent Dallas attack, the team might be a little more desperate in its pursuit of Pierre-Paul. On the other hand, if New York wins, it might be better off without the controversial defensive end.
“It’s time to play football. We’ve got Dallas this week, if that’s not a boost enough—we’ve got the first upcoming game, I don’t know what will get these guys going.”