Jason Pierre-Paul’s first tastes of full contact without using the club to protect his mangled right hand have been a success.
“I’m out there running and banging people, so I feel good,” the defensive end said. “My [right] hand feels like my left hand, just missing a couple fingers.”
Oh, just that?
Pierre-Paul seems determined to make it that simple. He had offseason surgery that allows him to ditch the club and use a custom-made glove. The procedure also allows him to grab better with his remaining fingers. And, apparently, he can also pick up a football pretty easily with the new handwear.
In practice on Saturday he scooped up a fumble by Eli Manning and ran about 60 yards for a touchdown. Olivier Vernon pushed Ereck Flowers into Manning to force the loose ball.
“I’m just playing football,” he shrugged. “Just made a touchdown, that’s it. I was tired as hell, but I was ok.”
Giants coaches have been raving about Pierre-Paul’s energy and speed in this camp. None of that was ever a question, though. It’s his hand and his ability to use it that will determine whether or not he has a successful season.
Pierre-Paul said he doesn’t know what his schedule will be for the preseason and which games he will appear in. “I don’t care,” he said. “Whatever they have for me, I’ll just bring it.”
Those preseason games will be the real test for him and his glove. It will also give him a chance to get fine-tuned for the season. Despite a strong camp, he insisted that he is not yet at that point.
“But I’m getting there, I’m getting there,” he said. “It’ll be different and that’s basically what training camp is all about. Otherwise I feel ok.”