J.P.P. May Not Be Ready for Game One
Jason Pierre-Paul (better known as JPP), a stand-out defensive end for the New York Giants, made news this off-season when he underwent back surgery to repair a herniated disc in his lower back. Although he is an imposing 6’5″ and 270 plus pounds, JPP has a history of back problems since his college days and occasionally will have them flare up, forcing Osi Umenyiora to step up. Prior to the surgery, JPP had made the following comment:
“My back has been bothering me for a while, and even last season I played through some back issues….The treatment I’ve been doing has helped manage the issue, but this procedure is going to get me fully healthy and there should be no more pain. I’m going to do everything the doctors tell me to do during my rehab so I can be back playing the game I love at a high level as quickly as possible.”
The expected recovery time for the surgery was twelve weeks, but, seven and a half weeks through this period, JPP has made statements that show he is still unsure whether or not he will be starting game one of the season. Two such statements that appeared on Twitter and are certain to be disappointing for Giants fans are, in regards to starting week one, “Maybe, maybe not,” and that he is only 75% recovered from his back surgery. With only a short six weeks or so until the start of the season, one thing the Giants certainly don’t want is their defensive star impaired.
What would be the impact of not having JPP for the start of the 2013 season? The Giants have a strong defensive unit regardless, but it is clear that they simply play better when JPP is on the field and playing at his best. In 2010, JPP managed just 4.5 sacks and and 30 tackles and the Giants were unable to make the playoffs. The following season, JPP had a break-out year recording 16.5 sacks and 86 tackles. The Giants would go on to become Super Bowl champions that same year. Finally, last season JPP was unable to repeat his strong performance with only 6.5 sacks and 66 tackles and (you guessed it) the Giants once again missed the playoffs. Yes this could be coincidence and there are far more factors at play than how JPP performs during the year, but one thing is for sure: the Giants play at their best when JPP is on the field leading the defensive unit.