It’s open surgery season on NFL players as many are going under the knife to correct nagging injuries in the offseason before mini-camps begin. Last Tuesday, Jason Pierre-Paul underwent surgery for a herniated disk that has been bothering him since last year and New York Giants’ head coach Tom Coughlin is noticeably concerned about Pierre-Paul’s prognosis.
“Anybody who has had a back [injury] knows that is a very difficult thing to deal with,” Coughlin said to ESPN New York.com‘s Ohm Youngmisuk, “Nothing feels good… sometimes it is longer to recover than other injuries. There is some concern, but I am anxious about getting him back here and seeing him and talking to him. He may feel a lot better than he has. Who knows?”
Pierre-Paul was suffering from a lumbar disc herniation. It is unclear when he suffered the injury, but surgery was seen as a last resort after all other non-surgical methods failed to alleviate the condition.
Last season Pierre-Paul had 6.5 sacks and 66 solo tackles, which was a dramatic fall off from his 2011 season when he had 16.5 sacks and 86 solo tackles.
Playing injured is what all NFL players do at some point in their career. Usually with time and physical therapy, many players can recover from the usual brutal campaign. However, a lower back injury affects the power and speed of an athlete like no other injury, it’s like a V8 engine running only on 140 horse power.
Coughlin is right to worry about Pierre-Paul’s health. Even if the surgery is considered successful, which it was, no one knows what the once explosive defensive end’s level of play will be once he returns.
In the meantime between now and week one, the Giants have named Mathias Kiwanuka as the starter for the recovering Pierre-Paul. Many are looking to newly drafted Damontre Moore and third-year Giants’ defensive end Adrian Tracy to pick up the slack in the interim.
This will be the first main test for the Giants’ defense this season as events unfold unscripted through to training camp.