NFL Wire News

Biggest hurdle remains for Giants DE Pierre-Paul


The Sports Xchange

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Exactly 90 days after New York Giants co-owner John Mara implored defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul to “come home,” his wish was granted when the team and the 26-year-old franchise player cleared two very important hurdles regarding his return to the field following a July 4 fireworks accident that left his right hand permanently damaged.

The biggest remaining hurdle, though, is still to come, and that is determining when Pierre-Paul will be ready to return to the field to help a Giants pass rush that is ranked 31st in the league in sacks.

The Giants, who received a two-week exemption from the league so that Pierre-Paul could work with the team’s rehab staff and also participate in practice, have reportedly been eyeing a Week 10 return for Pierre-Paul, a home contest against the Patriots and the Giants’ last game before their bye.

A more realistic projection, however, would be after the bye week, though it’s possible that Pierre-Paul, who would need to be added to the 53-man roster by Week 10, could contribute in a very limited capacity.

So in other words, nothing has been set in stone regarding Pierre-Paul’s return, and even head coach Tom Coughlin doesn’t know what to expect.

“I’m being brought along like the rest of you,” he said.

On his first day back since last season ended, Pierre-Paul stood with a team trainer, occasionally doing sprints up and down the backline of the end zone during the part of practice open to the media. Coughlin said that the initial plan for Pierre-Paul was to start with the medical people and then slide over to do individual drills associated with his position, though not as part of the initial group.

Coughlin described Pierre-Paul’s demeanor as “upbeat” and said that his return was well received by the players in the locker room.

“We are all rooting for him to be honest with you,” the coach said. “He’s anxious to play right now.”

Coughlin also said he’s contemplating allowing Pierre-Paul to travel with the team when they face the Saints this weekend, a move that would be a departure from Coughlin’s usual insistence that injured players remain behind to work on their rehab.

“Do I want him in the environment of competitiveness? Yes,” Coughlin said.

While it’s too soon to say what the Giants will be able to get out of Pierre-Paul, whom Coughlin said came in at 268 pounds, 10 pounds lighter than his listed playing weight, the team is hopeful that Pierre-Paul’s right hand, which is missing his index finger, will not be an issue.

“I’m hoping he’s as good as (ever),” Coughlin said, adding, “He’ll use that (right) hand basically as he always has, not necessarily as a grabber but as a club.”

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