New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul will undergo back surgery today and hopes to be ready for Week 1, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The surgery is being performed in Los Angeles by Dr. Robert Watkins, who is also performing the surgery for New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski later this month.
The loss of Pierre-Paul is a major blow to the Giants’ defensive line that is looking for a return to form after a disappointing 2012 campaign.
Last season, Pierre-Paul played through a back injury and struggled to escape double-teams. He recorded a career-low 6.5 sacks, which exactly 10 fewer than his 2012 total. As a team, the Giants recorded just 33 sacks in 2012, 10th fewest in the NFL.
The Giants signed DT Cullen Jenkins and drafted DT Johnathan Hankins and DE Damontre Moore to provide reinforcements following the departure of Osi Umenyiora and the release of Chris Canty. Moore’s presence becomes even more essential with the news of Pierre-Paul’s injury.
However, the pressure on Moore will be eased by the Giants fortuitous decision to move Mathias Kiwanuka back to defensive end full-time this season. Kiwanuka now slots in as the starter should Pierre-Paul’s injury keep him out longer than expected.
The Giants simply cannot afford to lose Pierre-Paul for any part of the season. Perry Fewell’s defense relies on its ability to pressure the quarterback, and Pierre-Paul’s athleticism and physical presence are crucial to the Giants defensive line.