Jason Pierre-Paul might not miss the entire 2019 NFL season, but there’s a good chance he’s going to miss at least half of it due to the injuries hesustained in a car crash on May 2. At least that’s the word from Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians, who was asked about the health of his star defensive player on Friday for the first time since the crash.
Although Bucs general manager Jason Licht released multiple statements about the incident, the team didn’t really offer any timetable for when JPP might return until now, and it’s looking like Pierre-Paul won’t be back on the field until October at the absolute earliest.
“I think [the evaluation] is still ongoing, and like Jason said, we’ve got our fingers crossed and praying for him,” Arians said, via ESPN.com. “[It’s] yery unfortunate. All we can do is just pray and hope for the best and hope it’s one of those five- or six-month things and go from there.”
Pierre-Paulfractured his neck in a crashthat took place just after 2 a.m. in Florida.
If Pierre-Paul were to return after five months, that means he would miss the first four games of the season. On the other hand, if he’s out for six months, that means he wouldn’t be returning to the team until Week 9 at the earliest.
According to NFL.com, the Buccaneers star has decided not to undergo surgery on his neck.
Although JPP’s doctors could see him coming back sooner five or six months, Arians didn’t sound as optimistic. As a matter of fact, the Bucs coach still doesn’t seem sure if Pierre-Paul will play at all 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.”
Police also seemed to think that everything was alright, because they described JPP as “apparently normal’ in their report from the incident, which was obtained by theTampa Bay Times. The 30-year-old was eventually taken to a hospital and then released on the same day.
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.
The crash in Florida comes 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.