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Giants rally together following JPP injury


DE Jason Pierre-Paul underwent surgery for a groin injury he suffered in the Giants' Week 13 loss:

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants will hold no pity parties because Jason Pierre-Paul will miss the remainder of the season. It's not their nature. And besides, they have no time.

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"It's something that, as a team, it sets us back," safety Landon Collins said. "But we look at it as an opportunity for other guys to get their names out."

"We have a good locker room," said linebacker and defensive captain Jonathan Casillas. "I feel like the energy was there today. We were on point speaking from the defensive side of the ball. Guys just have to step up. We have some very capable defensive ends that have played football at that spot before."

Pierre-Paul, the two-time Pro Bowl defensive end, today underwent surgery to repair a core muscle injury he suffered last Sunday in Pittsburgh. The operation was performed by specialist Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia. The Giants did not give a prognosis for his potential return.

"We're just going to support JPP any way we can," coach Ben McAdoo said. "The sooner he gets back and whenever he can make it back, the better. We'll support him in any way that we can. Whenever he gets back, we'll be ready for him." Shortly after the operation, Pierre-Paul tweeted, "Surgery went well and feeling way better already. God is good." He soon also tweeted, "Time to heal up." Asked about the possibility of putting Pierre-Paul on injured reserve, McAdoo said, "Too early to tell. We're going to monitor. He just got out of surgery a little while ago. We'll see how he feels and how he progresses." Pierre-Paul is second on the Giants with 7.0 sacks and fifth with 53 tackles (35 solo). When he suffered the injury in the Giants' 24-14 loss to the Steelers, JPP had just been named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week after registering 3.0 sacks and scoring a touchdown on a 43-yard fumble return.

He is unquestionably one of the NFL's best defensive ends, a disruptive force who constantly pressures quarterbacks and has a knack for making big plays.

"You don't know how much of an impact a guy has on a team, on and off the field, until they are not there anymore," defensive tackle Damon Harrison said. "I know how bad he wants to play. I know how much being out there this year meant to him, and I was a little heartbroken for him."

But the Giants can't afford to feel sorry for Pierre-Paul or themselves. This week, they will host the team with the NFL's best record, the 11-1 Dallas Cowboys, who are riding an 11-game winning streak. Without Pierre-Paul, young defensive ends Kerry Wynn, Oda Odighizuwa and Romeo Okwara will assume larger roles. And the Giants still have Olivier Vernon, who has a team-high 8.0 sacks.

"It is always discouraging when you lose a guy on the defense, but it is football, things happen, injuries happen," defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins said. "So it just has to be the next man up goes out there, steps in, and takes care of the job. I think that this week of practice will help prepare us to get to where we need to go. So we are praying for JPP, hoping that he can get back soon, but we have to get ready for Dallas."

"We will and we have to (fill the hole left by JPP's absence)," Casillas said. "This week is going to be huge for us. We're going against a really good O-line. JPP has had good games against Dallas in his career. We're going to miss him for sure."

Many players also were saddened about Pierre-Paul for more personal reasons. They know how hard he worked to return to the field last year after suffering serious injuries in a fireworks accident. But he returned for the season's final eight games.

"He is a great locker room guy and he was the one who pretty much brought everybody together," Harrison said. "Now somebody has to step up and fill that role. But that is one of my good friends on the team. I still talk to him. I was just texting him a while ago, he is in good spirits. I think that as soon as he can get back out there, he will."

With just four weeks remaining, it's extremely improbable that JPP will return in the regular season. But if the Giants make the playoffs and advance … who knows?

"That was definitely said today," Casillas said. "I think the guy is going to be back. The better we are and the deeper we get in January and February is the whole team goal, of course. Hopefully, we can get him back."

*Left guard Justin Pugh, who has missed the last four games with a knee injury, is hopeful he can return to the field Sunday against Dallas.

"My knee is feeling great, so I have all intentions of going out and playing on Sunday," Pugh said. "We just have to make sure that we are taking the right steps and like I keep saying, I feel like a broken record, making sure that we don't have any setbacks, but every day I am feeling good, so it is solid."

*Aside from Pierre-Paul, three Giants did not practice today: Hankins (quad), safety Nat Berhe (concussion) and wide receiver Dwayne Harris (ankle).

Four players were limited: linebacker Mark Herzlich (concussion), Pugh (knee), Odighizuwa (knee) and cornerback Coty Sensabaugh (ribs).

*Four Cowboys did not practice: cornerbacks Morris Claiborne (groin) and Orlando Scandrick (foot/not injury related), safety J.J. Wilcox (thigh), and tackle Chaz Green (back).

*The Giants, Hoodies for the Homeless, and New York Cares will host their 21st Annual Coat and Hoodie Drive on Sunday at MetLife Stadium prior to the Giants-Cowboys game. Fans are encouraged to bring their new or gently worn coats/hoodies to any of the New York Cares or Hoodies for the Homeless volunteers located at each stadium entrance.

All coats and hoodies collected during the drive will be distributed through two local philanthropic groups: New York Cares, a non-profit organization that meets pressing community needs by mobilizing caring New Yorkers in volunteer service, and Hoodies for the Homeless, a non- profit organization created by the band Push Method, who are committed to bringing awareness to the issue of homelessness. The coats and hoodies will then be distributed to men, women and children at homeless shelters, community organizations, centers for battered women, and agencies serving senior citizens across the metropolitan area. Since 1996, the Giants have hosted a coat drive at the stadium, helping to warm thousands of their neighbors throughout the cold winter months. Once again, the Giants ask their friends and fans to join the team as we assist our neighbors in need.

Photos from the all-time series between the Giants and Cowboys

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