Jason Pierre-Paul taken off PUP list, practices for first time
The Giants have seemingly gotten nothing but bad news this preseason when it comes to injuries, so it’s easy to feel their relief when they learned star defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul would be taken off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list on Monday.
The former Pro Bowl pass rusher was a welcome sight on the practice field as he was finally able to join his teammates in a limited capacity.
Pierre-Paul said he’d been waiting for this day for a long time.
“It’s a big step. I’ve been working hard for the past couple of months since I’ve gotten my surgery. I think I’m going to do good out there,” said Pierre-Paul. “The individual drills that I did were harder than the drills in practice so the trainers were helping me. I feel more comfortable with myself going out and practicing with the team.”
Fellow defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka was certainly happy to see his good friend with pads on and a smile on his face. Kiwanuka is hoping the presence of Pierre-Paul will erase many smiles from opposing offenses, as teams will have to make a decision as to whether they double team him or block him one on one, which may destroy any given play.
“When we’re at full strength, when we have all of our pass rushers on the field, teams have to make a decision as to who they’re going to leave single blocked,” Kiwanuka said. “We always feel like that one individual who gets that single should win, so having us at full strength will be a good matchup.”
Pierre-Paul said he hasn’t given any thought as to how teams will block him, as he’s just happy to be on the field and working in some capacity. He noted there’s still no timetable for when he can be 100-percent back, adding it’s a “day-to-day” thing.
“I don’t have any goals [and] I’m not trying to rush [back into action],” Pierre-Paul said. “A back [injury] is a serious thing. Back surgery is a serious thing and you can’t try to come back too early, [or] you’ll mess it up even more. I’m just trying to take it day by day. … I don’t have that pain that I had before I had the surgery. That pain is all gone. I mean, at times it can get sore but that’s a regular thing. It’s not uncommon, so I feel good about it.”
Pierre-Paul may be easing his way back into the mix and tempering expectations, but as for his teammates, they’re all giddy at just the mere sight of their best pass rusher being back with the team.
Safety Antrel Rolle, who is an important cog in the Giants secondary, kowtowed to Pierre-Paul, noting that he’s the main cog to the entire defense.
“JPP, we all know what he means to this defense and what he means to this team. He’s our best defensive playmaker, hands down,” said Rolle. “Just having him out there with the guys is just going to make us fight that much harder to get ourselves ready, to make sure we’re on the same page with him and to get him ready — Week 1 or whenever he’s going to come back and return to our defense in full form. … With him trying to get him back in tip-top shape, hopefully we’re going to see a performance that he’s never ever shown us. We’re looking for miraculous things out of JPP and he’s a guy that can definitely give it to us.”
Big Blue notes …
» Now that Pierre-Paul has been taken off the PUP list, it leaves just one player remaining: defensive tackle Markus Kuhn. If Kuhn is still on the PUP list to start the regular season, he won’t be available to play until after Week 6, per league rules.
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.