The New York Giants open their regular season slate with a match-up against one of their biggest rivals in the Dallas Cowboys. Unfortunately, it is unclear whether they will have their most impactful defensive player in uniform for Week 1.
Jason Pierre-Paul, New York’s star defensive end, had some interesting thoughts to share with reporters on Saturday, and ESPN has a gem of a quote from the 23-year-old star:
“I am feeling great now, I don’t have no pain bothering me,” he added. “A back [surgery] is a really, really horrible thing to have, back surgery period and you don’t want to rush back. I’m not concentrating on the first game, the second game, the third game, fourth game, fifth game, sixth game. I’m just trying to come back when I feel like I’m ready to come back.”
Obviously, that isn’t a ringing endorsement of his health, but when “JPP” went on to say that he was “75 percent” and that he “(didn’t) know” about his status for week 1, flags were raised in East Rutherford. The Giants are fully capable of functioning in his absence, but the upside of Pierre-Paul would certainly be unmatched by any combination of replacement parts for the Giants.
In addition, concerns about Pierre-Paul’s availability in the wake of his back surgery shine beyond Week 1, and he apparently is acknowledging that. This will be a situation to monitor closer and closer as the season approaches, but for now, we simply don’t know.