Jason Pierre-Paul plans to play Sunday, but the Giants defensive end might take the field looking the way he did in 2015, when he wore heavy, club-like padding on the right hand he severely injured in a fireworks accident in the summer before that season.
After not practicing early in the week, he returned on a limited basis Friday. He was listed as questionable with a finger injury for the game against Dallas.
Asked if he will play, he playfully asked reporters what they thought. Someone said he believed Pierre-Paul would play. “There you go,” he said. “There’s the answer right there.”
What caused the injury? “Whatever it is, I’ll be all right. I’ll be out there Sunday,” he said.
Might he be limited? “I’ll be out there playing Sunday,” he said. “I’m ready to go.”
Is he concerned that the injury might cause long-term problems? “Nope,” he said. “Nope.”
Why not? “Because I’ll be out there playing on Sunday.”
Pierre-Paul conceded he will require extra padding but added, “I’ll definitely be at full go.”
Many players currently in the locker room will not be there when the new general manager and coach rebuild in 2018. But after signing a four-year, $62-million contract before this season, JPP isn’t going anywhere.
Having him play up to his contract will be critical. He had seven sacks in 12 games in 2016 and has 6 1⁄2 in 12 games this year. He had 12 1⁄2 in 2014, his last year before the fireworks incident.
Does he consider it important personally for him to do big things in these last four games of a lost season?
“Every game is big for me, man,” he said. “It ain’t just important for these last few games. Every game is big. I just feel like the season didn’t go quite as everybody thought it was going to go, but at the end of the day, when you step on the football field, you’re still a pro and you have to approach that game.
“There’s no lackadaisical over here, or at least I approach the game that way. We’re going to be ready to go and we’re fighting.”
Notes & quotes: Justin Pugh (back) is out. Bobby Hart presumably will start at right tackle opposite Demarcus Lawrence, who leads the NFL with 13 1⁄2 sacks. “He’s just a relentless guy,” Hart said. “He has a knack to get to the quarterback. A lot of guys you go against, they’ll beat you with moves but they don’t know how to get to the quarterback. He does a good job having a nose for the quarterback.” . . . CB Eli Apple, RB Orleans Darkwa, WR Sterling Shepard, WR Travis Rudolph and OT Chad Wheeler are questionable. LB B.J. Goodson is out . . . Rashad Jennings, 32, announced his retirement as a Giant, for whom he was a running back from 2014-16. He did not play this season after failing to attract serious free-agent interest. “I’m full,” he said. “I’m complete. I’m humbled. I have no regrets. If I could rewind the tape, I’d do it the exact same way.” He said he has many other interests, including dancing. He won ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” in May . . . Interim coach Steve Spag nuolo said he will continue to call defensive plays for now. “The biggest thing is I don’t want to disrupt the apple cart very much at all,” he said . . . Spagnuolo said he has not spoken to his former boss, former Giants coach Tom Coughlin, “but he’s in constant contact” by text. “You know he’s a good text man. Works pretty good at that. Doesn’t claim to, but he does a good job.”