Buccaneers defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is expected to miss several months of the 2019 season after injuring his neck during a car crash on May 2. Although Pierre-Paul has yet to comment on his injuries, the Bucs' star did release a picture of himself on Friday, marking the first time since the accident that JPP has shared a photo that shows his current state of health.
In a series of pictures that he posted to Instagram, JPP definitely seems to be in good spirits, but you can also tell that he's dealing with a very serious injury. Not only is JPP bedridden, but he also appears to be wearing a neck brace.
Pierre-Paul shared the four photos below with the caption, "You can always find a way to smile when your going through something. Chillin with the man who molded me into who I am today. My PaPa."
Pierre-Paul is wearing the neck brace because he fractured a vertebra in his neck during the crash, which took place just after 2 a.m. in Florida. Although JPP could have made the decision to undergo surgery, it appears that he's not going to do that. According to NFL.com, the Buccaneers star has decided to let his neck heal on its own with doctors expecting him to be able to play again in five to six months.
Of course, not everyone is convinced that Pierre-Paul will be able to return that quickly. During an interview on May 10, Bucs coach Bruce Arians didn't have any idea if JPP would be able to return this season.
"I don't know what the answer is yet, if he's gonna play, if he's not gonna play," Arians said. "[You] just practice with the guys you have, just like if anybody else gets hurt, on the field or off the field. You march on."
The injury to Pierre-Paul happened when his Ferrari spun out while he was driving on I-95 in South Florida. In the immediate aftermath of the crash, Pierre-Paul apparently didn't realize that he was injured. In the 9-1-1 call that he made, the Bucs pass rusher described himself as doing "OK."
"I hit the median, but I'm OK," Pierre-Paul said in the 9-1-1 call, which was obtained by Andy Slater. "It's right in the middle. It has to be moved or a cop has to come, or somebody is going to hit it."
The car crash came almost two years after Pierre-Paul lost part of his hand during a fireworks accident that also occurred near his family home in South Florida.
Pierre-Paul is headed into his second season with the Bucs after spending the first eight seasons of his career with the Giants. The defensive end was traded from New York to Tampa in March 2018 and then immediately responded by having one of the biggest seasons of his career.
The 30-year-old racked up 12.5 sacks in 2018, which led the Buccaneers.