As reported yesterday, New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul had his right index finger amputated on Wednesday at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida. Pierre-Paul suffered serious injuries to his right hand in a July 4th fireworks accident at his South Florida home on Saturday.
It is believed that Pierre-Paul’s entire right index finger and knuckle were removed all the way into the palm of his hand. Pierre-Paul also suffered fractures to his right thumb that needed pins to be inserted into the bone, requiring a second surgical procedure. According to media reports, the thumb injury will actually take longer to recover from than the amputation and will require six weeks to heal. A third surgical procedure for a skin graft to address severe burns to his lower right arm also appear to have been needed. The projected recovery time for the skin graft is currently not publicly known.
Amputation was one of several options presented to Pierre-Paul in order to deal with the right index finger injury. Pierre-Paul reportedly chose amputation in order to expedite his return to the playing field this upcoming season. The New York Post is reporting that a source said there was no guarantee the damaged finger would heal properly and be fully functional. What remains to be seen now is how badly a missing finger will impact Pierre-Paul for the rest of his NFL career. Defensive linemen require the use of their hands on every single play in order to fend off opposing offensive linemen.
A noted hand surgeon told The New York Post, “There’s no guarantee he can be the same defensive end he was. It changes your hand forever and narrows the palm.” The specialist told the paper that Pierre-Paul could lose between 5-35 percent of his hand strength. Former NFL players (see articles below) say Pierre-Paul will never be the same player.
Ever since the injury transpired on Saturday, Giants officials reportedly have been kept in the dark about the extent and severity of the injuries and the medical procedures that have followed. Team officials traveled to Miami early this week in an attempt to meet with Pierre-Paul but were denied access. Those officials, including Senior Vice President of Medical Services Ronnie Barnes, have since returned to New Jersey. According to multiple media reports, the Giants did not know about the amputation until it was tweeted out by ESPN. As Newsday has stated, “the Giants have had no input into his treatment and have no idea regarding any prognosis for recovery or timetable for rehabilitation.”
A team source told The New York Daily News, “We really don’t understand why they won’t let us help him. What are they trying to do?” The New York Post reports that Pierre-Paul’s camp refused the team’s offer to set him up with hand specialists in Manhattan. A team official told The Post, “We don’t know anything about his condition. We’re more concerned than upset.”
A free agent, Pierre-Paul received a 1-year, $14.813 million Franchise tender in March from the Giants that he has yet to sign. The Giants reportedly are no longer seeking to sign Pierre-Paul to a long-term deal before the July 15 NFL deadline for Franchise players to sign multi-year contracts. So unless the Giants rescind the tender, Pierre-Paul will be forced to sign the 1-year deal if he want to play and get paid in 2015. However, Pierre-Paul can control his absence from the team and the team’s access to him by not signing the tender.
If Pierre-Paul signs his tender and misses practice and playing time, the Giants can place him on the Non-Football Injury (NFI) List and not pay him. If Pierre-Paul is still on the NFL by the season opener, he must sit out the first six games of the regular season.
NFL.com reporter Kim Jones said on WFAN that the Giants would be willing to pay Pierre-Paul his $14.813 million tender and not put him on the NFI to dock his pay if he would report to training camp. That way, the Giants could monitor his healing process while Pierre-Paul attends meetings and learns the new defense under Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
Articles on DE Jason Pierre-Paul: