Jason Pierre-Paul: 'Hand is perfectly fine,' won't wear club in 2016
After returning from a fireworks accident to play the last half of 2015, Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has decided to ditch the club he wore on his injured hand.
The Giants have been busy little beavers during the first week of free agency bolstering a defense that ranked 30th last season, according to Football Outsiders' metrics. Former Dolphins pass rusher Olivier Vernon is the marquee name, signing a five-year, $85 million deal with $52.5 million guaranteed. But it's a familiar face that has the most to prove.
A year ago, we were still four months away from Jason Pierre-Paul suffering a serious hand injury during a fireworks accident. He missed eight games in 2015 and when he returned, he didn't have full use of his hand during games because it was taped into a club. As a result, he finished the year with just one sack.
But 2016 is going to be different, to hear JPP tell it. For starters, the club is gone.
"I'm not going to wear a club next year," he told reporters during a conference call. "My hand is perfectly fine."
It gets better. "I'm capable of closing and gripping ... it turned out really well," he said.
Pierre-Paul, who signed a one-year, $10.5 million "show-me" deal last week, is coming off January hand surgery.
"The surgery is definitely going to help me a lot," Pierre-Paul said Dec. 30. "I can't grip out of my middle finger, it can't close right now. That's the reason why I'm in the club. Once I have my surgery I'll be fine. I'm excited to actually get it done. Something I knew I had to get done at the end of the season."
In December, JPP told the New York Post that doctors initially wanted to cut his "whole hand off." A few weeks later, the defensive end revealed what his right hand looked like during a television interview with Fox Sports' Michael Strahan.
Next up for Pierre-Paul: Returning to the form that made him one of the NFL's best pass rushers. The most recent surgery should help, but he still has a long way to go to match his sack total from 2014 (12.5), when he started all 16 games for the Giants.
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