A fireworks accident on Fourth of July weekend forced Jason Pierre-Paul to have his right index finger amputated on Wednesday, but the New York Giants defensive end is expected to overcome the injury and return to the field next year. According to multiple reports, Pierre-Paul could be ready for Week 1 of the 2015 NFL season.
A source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the two-time Pro Bowler will be on the field “sooner than people think." Kim Jones of NFL Network reports that Pierre-Paul might only miss six weeks, though Pierre-Paul will be placed on the non-football injury list at the start of training camp, according to the New York Daily News.
Jason Pierre-Paul told to expect 6-week recovery, via source. Estimate based on timeframe for healing broken thumb, which had pins inserted.
— Kimberly Jones (@KimJonesSports) July 9, 2015
Not much was known about Pierre-Paul’s hand injury until ESPN got a hold of the NFL player’s medical records. He reportedly injured both hands, suffering fractures to his right thumb. Having undergone multiple surgeries, Pierre-Paul decided to amputate the finger, in part, because it was the best career decision.
Former San Francisco 49ers cornerback and Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott famously faced a similar situation. He broke his pinky in April 1986 and chose to amputate the appendage in order to avoid a long recovery time from surgery. Lott went on to lead the NFL with 10 interceptions the next season, and played for nine years after losing his finger.
New York Giants officials traveled to Miami to meet with Pierre-Paul on Wednesday, but they never ended up seeing their star player. The team reportedly didn’t learn of Pierre-Paul’s condition until the ESPN report came out, and the Giants are concerned about his long-term health, according to USA Today Sports.
The Giants pulled their $60 million contract offer to Pierre-Paul when they learned that he injured his hands, though they were still unaware of the severity of the injury. Either way, the defensive end was expected to play under the team’s $14.8 million franchise tag next year.
Pierre-Paul has been the team’s best defensive end since they won the Super Bowl in the 2011 season. He recorded 12.5 sacks last year, marking the second-highest total of his five-year career.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback C.J. Wilson was also injured in a fireworks accident last weekend that saw him lose two fingers.