Usually it’s the other way around. It’s typically the player who is insisting he’ll be back on the field for the opener and management that is pulling back on the reins and taking a wait-and-see approach. In the case of Jason Pierre-Paul, though, the roles have been flip-flopped.
After general manager Jerry Reese said on WFAN on Tuesday morning that the Giants expect to have the defensive end back for the Sept. 8 opener against the Cowboys, Pierre-Paul dumped the idea in the ice tub as if it were Prince Amukamara.
“I’d say it’s not really the doctors’ decision no more,” Pierre-Paul said. “It’s basically on me. It all depends on my recovery and how my back feels and if I can go out there and, you know, practice with the team … I already know that I’m going to be taking on two guys, double team, triple team maybe, so I’m not in a rush to hurry up and come back to put myself in that position.”
Not even the looming deadline of that Sept. 8 game has Pierre-Paul’s attention.
“It’s not important to me at all,” he said of coming back for that game. “I already know that the D-line that we have here is going to go out and get the job done. I’m very confident that Kiwi, Tuck, all those guys are going to get the job done. That’s all it takes. They don’t really need me out there right now and I’m just going to focus on my recovery. Everything will be alright.”
Pierre-Paul is only eight weeks removed from surgery, and the Giants initially projected it would take 12 for him to return. He said he’ll need a few practices before he jumps into game action. But the good news is that he is feeling better and is doing some more running. That’s sparking optimism, certainly from Reese. And some from Pierre-Paul, even though he’s still not there.
“Right now I’m still at that stage that I know I can’t go out there and perform,” he said. “I’m not going to try to hurry and rush back. That’s why I say it’s on me and my recovery is coming along. Right now my recovery is coming along perfectly fine … When I feel comfortable going out there and taking on blocks and ready to run like the wind again, I’ll be out there. Right now, I’m just taking it day by day and that’s my focus.”