The news regarding Buccaneers defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul’s apparent fractured neck may not be as bad, as initially thought. This after a report Tuesday night on the NFL Network says he actually may avoid surgery and could be available at the start of the season.
NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported on the “Total Access” program Tuesday night that Pierre-Paul is seeking multiple opinions about the fractured vertebrae in his neck suffered in a one car accident early last Thursday morning:
The latest on Jason Pierre-Paul from @NFLTotalAccess: Several doctors will review his scans in the coming days. Concern is it’s a fractured vertebrae in his neck. If surgery is required, he’d face a 5-6 month recovery. But no decisions yet on how to proceed. @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/76QjsG8qnu
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 7, 2019
Pelissero further shed light on the actual accident saying that JPP’s single-car wreck was caused in rainy conditions on Interstate 95 near Pembroke Pines in South Florida.
He further reported that Pierre-Paul was released from the hospital later that day, and it was not until Buccaneers team physicians did different tests and scans that they discovered the fractured vertebrae.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the story earlier Tuesday that Pierre-Paul was potentially facing season-ending surgery on his neck due to the accident. Schefter went on to report a little later in the day that the veteran defensive end was seeking multiple opinions on treatment vs surgery.
The Buccaneers released a purposely general update statement from GM Jason Licht, saying only they were concerned for Pierre-Paul’s health, while confirming nothing about the injuries much less a prognosis for him to play:
“As we stated last week following the news of Jason’s auto accident, our immediate concern was for both Jason and his passenger. While Jason was treated and released in south Florida the same day of the accident, we wanted to ensure that our medical team had an opportunity to perform a thorough evaluation here in Tampa, and that process is currently ongoing.”
This is a potentially devastating blow to the Bucs pass rush, as Pierre-Paul led them in sacks a year ago with 12.5, becoming the first Buccaneer to register double-digit sacks in a single season in over a decade. In addition to his sacks, Pierre-Paul had an additional 16 tackles-for-loss and 20 more quarterback hits. He was one of the most feared pass rushers in the NFC and was named as an alternate to the Pro Bowl despite the Bucs 5 – 11 record.
Pierre-Paul is about to enter the third of a four-year deal that has already paid him over $34 million. This season he is slated to make $14.9 million with more than half of that now having been guaranteed, as a roster bonus from back on March 17th.
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