Jason Pierre-Paul made it clear that he is back. He's just not sure if he'll be back on Sunday.
After a breakout performance - or at least half of one against the Raiders on Sunday before he injured his shoulder - the defensive end sat out Wednesday's practice and said he will also sit out Thursday. As for his availability on Sunday against the Packers, he said that remains a question.
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"I don't know if I'm going to play Sunday, I don't," he said. "That's the honest answer. At this point I'm taking it day by day and I'll see how I feel Sunday. It's on me."
Pierre-Paul underwent offseason back surgery which hampered him through the first half of the season. Last week, when the team returned from its bye, the players and coaches noticed a difference in him in practice. It translated onto the field, where he had an early sack of Terrelle Pryor, drew an important holding penalty, and was stout against the run. Then he left the game with a shoulder injury in the second quarter. Pierre-Paul returned and wound up playing more snaps than any other defensive lineman in the game, but he said his shoulder is still sore.
"Once it stops hurting me, I'll play," he said. "As of right now I'm taking it day by day."
Tom Coughlin had reported Pierre-Paul's absence from Wednesday's practice earlier in the day, but said he hoped to have him back on the field for Thursday.
"He's still sore, but he's optimistic and so are we," Coughlin said.
Pierre-Paul took a big swig from that half-full glass by essentially declaring himself questionable at best for the Packers game. Sitting out may be the best thing for him. The Giants could move defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins to end as they did on Sunday when Pierre-Paul was having X-rays, which would make them stouter against the run. Facing a sturdy running back in Eddie Lacy and a third-string quarterback in Scott Tolzien, this might be an opportunity to rest Pierre-Paul - or at least limit his snaps - in favor of having him healthy going forward against the Cowboys and Redskins in the coming weeks.
The shoulder troubles aside, Pierre-Paul insisted that when he does return to the field he will be at the same level he was on Sunday.
"I'm back, there's no question about that," he said of his recovery from the back surgery. "Last Sunday's game, I think I had a great game. That was probably one of my best games. One sack, I probably could have had more until I got hurt. I'm taking it day by day right now and that's all I can do."