The saga that has become Jason Pierre-Paul’s right hand refuses to relent. The injured defensive end recently took to social media via Instagram and Twitter to convince his team and fans that he can still perform and be a force in the league; only to be met with skepticism and pessimism.
Initial reports immediately following his July 4 fireworks accident had only his right index finger requiring amputation. Later reports and pictures have confirmed that he sustained further damage to his hand including a slightly shaven right thumb and middle finger.
Many have questioned JPP’s latest foray into social media, wondering aloud why the player didn’t post after the accident or at the beginning of Big Blue’s preseason camp, at the latest. The situation becomes even murkier considering the Giants’ previous desire to franchise JPP while figuring out a long term deal for a player they had considered their unquestioned defensive leader.
Currently, Pierre-Paul does not have a contract with the Giants and is working out on his own, away from the team, after Giants’ doctors took a look at his hand and deemed him unfit to return. The medical staff have penciled him in for another consultation in six weeks after which the team can sign him to a pro-rated franchise tender that pays him for the games he appears in only.
There are still plenty of questions regarding the extent of the injuries, especially the “tips” of his thumb and middle finger. If too much of his fingers have been damaged, JPP’s leverage and arm strength during line up could be hampered and the Giants can find themselves essentially starting a one-armed player who is unable to recreate the 12 and half sacks he gained in 2014 (9.0 in the final five games). And even if he returned mid-season, JPP would require a few weeks, at the minimum, to return to game speed and a working knowledge of Steve Spagnuolo’s playbook.
It would be devastating news for the Giants if Pierre-Paul was unable to return this year. The team registered zero sacks in their week 1 loss to the Cowboys and their defense is missing bite at the moment. They desperately require the services of a Pro Bowl-level D-Lineman and find themselves without a marquee defensive player for the first time since the days of Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora, and Justin Tuck.