The New York Giants got some pretty unsettling news over the 4th of July weekend, as they learned star defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul sustained severe hand injuries after a fireworks accident. The initial outlook produced mixed signals on his playing career and even his 2015 availability and even ultimately led to an amputation of his right index finger.
Going forward, little that is concrete is known about JPP’s health and future with the Giants. New York had previously extended a long-term offer to JPP, but after the new they reportedly pulled the offer off the table. Pierre-Paul wasn’t expected to accept that deal, anyways, and the big question now is if he agrees to the one-year franchise tender.
The Giants seem to still be very interested in holding onto their best defensive end, but his availability for 2015 is obviously in question. The loss of a finger, plus the reported burns on Pierre-Paul’s hands, could give him a lengthy recovery time as he is forced to re-learn how to use his hands. Fractures in his right thumb further complicate matter, and those injuries alone are said to take up to six weeks to recover from. For what it’s worth, early reports from JPP’s camp suggest he will make a full recovery and could even still start by week one.
New York is in the middle of the pack right now when it comes to their 2015 Super Bowl odds (33/1 odds), while the last time we checked they’re the third team out of the NFC East when it comes to their odds of winning the division. Needless to say, they weren’t a lock to win their division to begin with, and if they can’t do that they’re obviously long shots to get to/win this year’s Super Bowl. Losing JPP for any amount of time or dealing with a JPP at significantly less than 100% could really set them back.
ESPN analyst Hugh Douglas, a former NFL defensive end, seems to think it’s wishful thinking for JPP to make a speedy recovery, much less come back as the same player he was. Per Douglas, a defensive lineman needs all five fingers on both hands to combat offensive linemen. Gripping and pulling will be made much more difficult, while the loss of his index finger could potentially sap JPP of up to “25%” of his grip strength.
Most of the analysis surrounding JPP’s hand injury is speculation, as only he and his doctors know what he’s in for. None of it sounds good on the surface, though, so the Giants could be looking at a hit in their pass rush going into 2015. That’s not good news for a defense that was extremely shaky a year ago and naturally doesn’t make the G-Men the sexiest bet to win their division or compete for another Super Bowl.