Unless you just landed from the ISS, you already know about the injury to defensive lineman Jason Pierre-Paul.
What was first a played down a report of a single-car accident has transformed over the last two weeks. From no significant injury to a broken neck that puts the veteran’s season in doubt. Some reports went as far as to suggest that his career was over.
Surgery was mentioned in many news organizations.
Recent news from the Buccaneers and JPP himself has stated that the DE will opt not to go under the knife and will allow the injury to heal naturally. Those who follow Pierre-Paul in social media will note that there were quotes suggesting he hopes to be ready for September.
So let’s put a few things in perspective.
Firstly the injury itself. From initial reports, only the passenger airbag deployed during the one-car accident. This would point at the fracture being caused by a whiplash motion or torsion on the neck, rather than a fracture caused by the airbag hitting JPP in the face at over 200 mph.
Whilst these fractures are not common, they also aren’t rare. The part of this that makes the fracture so serious is its location, the cervical vertebra! These are located in the upper neck, and when these bones are fractured, paralysis is common. Obviously, that isn’t the case here so let’s all breathe a collective sigh of relief.
So surgery vs natural!
The options in surgery are either stabilizing the bones or fusion, both carry a high risk of ending the career of the defensive standout, and from reports, JPP doesn’t feel the injury needs the risk. I don’t blame him if the reports are accurate.
In going for the natural healing route, JPP will have to completely rest for a minimum of 3 months, and that’s before he can start rebuilding the strength in his neck. The benefits of healing naturally will limit the long term effects of the injury, but only if everything goes exactly to plan.
Ultimately, my own opinion would suggest that Pierre-Paul is at least 6-7 months from any serious workouts, and getting back into the pads. Don’t expect to see number 90 lining up any time soon.