Just as the Giants received good news about some of their banged-up defensive bodies not being out as long as expected, they learned their biggest defensive star, Jason Pierre-Paul, will not suit up Friday against the Bears.
Pierre-Paul, who’s been suffering from back stiffness through most of camp, didn’t practice on Wednesday and was immediately deemed out for the third preseason game.
The standout defensive end said his back usually has this problem as camp commences, but as the dog days go by, the pain usually subsides. Such was the case this summer until he missed Wednesday’s session — his first absence this camp.
Head coach Tom Coughlin backed up Pierre-Paul’s claim saying this has been a regular occurrence since they drafted the Pro Bowler, and chalked it up as nothing to worry about.
“It’ll end up being precautionary,” Coughlin said. “He would have practiced and played, but the medical people kind of said this would be the best way to go so that we ensure going forward that he’ll be OK.”
Since starters rarely play in the final preseason game, it looks like Big Blue fans have seen the last of Pierre-Paul until the Sept. 5 opener against the Cowboys. They shouldn’t worry, however, since Pierre-Paul already seems to be in midseason form, as he registered two sacks in last Friday’s preseason win over the Jets. If Giants’ fans want further reassurance, Pierre-Paul had the same back issue in 2011 and ended up turning in a spectacular season by playing in all 16 regular-season games and garnering 16.5 sacks.
Coughlin did later hint, though, that he may have the inkling to play the starters a little in the preseason finale against the Patriots, but said the decision on Pierre-Paul will be determined at a later date.
“We’ve always played [starters] a little bit in the fourth game, so I wouldn’t want to be quoted on anything right now,” Coughlin said. “We’re concerned about this game [against the Bears] and how we play in this scrimmage. … After that we’ll make some decisions on guys.”
Big Blue notes
»Pierre-Paul isn’t the only star defensive player who is likely out this Friday, as weakside linebacker Michael Boley (hamstring) may also sit out. If Boley can’t go, former Bengal Keith Rivers will be the likely replacement.
»Those that sat out practice include left tackle Will Beatty (back), cornerbacks Brandon Bing (hamstring), Jayron Hosley (foot) and Terrell Thomas (knee), linebacker Michael Boley (hamstring), guard Brandon Mosley (ankle), defensive tackles Marvin Austin (back), Chris Canty (knee) and Shaun Rogers (blood clot), tight end Travis Beckum (knee, PUP), safety Will Hill (death in the family) and defensive ends Pierre-Paul (back) and Adrian Tracy (hamstring).
»Wideout Hakeem Nicks (foot) was put through the ringer during Wednesday’s session, as the coaching staff pushed him further than any of the other two practices since his return from the broken foot. Coughlin said he asked Nicks to go full-bore because Thursday is a brief walkthrough and he wanted a good next-day assessment to see how Nicks could handle such a strong workload.
The coaching staff, Coughlin allowed, has yet to decide whether Nicks will play against the Bears: “Today I asked him to go a little harder because tomorrow’s just a walkthrough/jog-through type thing. He went a little better today [and] he actually looked better today. I liked what I saw today.”
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8 for more breaking news.