EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Jason Pierre-Paul today celebrated a milestone in his comeback from offseason back surgery, but isn't ready to guarantee he will play in the regular-season opener in 13 days in Dallas.
The Giants' two-time Pro Bowl defensive end passed his physical and was removed from the physically unable to perform list. In his first practice this afternoon, he was scheduled to go through individual drills.
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But JPP said he has no timetable for his return to game action.
"I don't have any goals," he said. "I'm taking it day-by-day and that's all I can do. I'm not trying to rush. A back is a serious thing, a back surgery is a serious thing and you can't try to come back too early, or you'll mess it up even more. I'm just trying to take it day-by-day."
Although unsure when he will join them on game day, Pierre-Paul's teammates are excited to have him back on the field.
"He's our best defensive playmaker, hands down," safety Antrel Rolle said. "I think he shows it week-in and week-out and, with him having the surgery and trying to get him back in tip-top shape and tip-top form, hopefully we're going to see a performance that he's never ever shown us. We're looking for miraculous things out of JPP and he's a guy that can definitely give it to us."
"When we're at full strength, when we have all of our pass rushers on the field, teams have to make a decision as to who they're going to leave single blocked," said Mathias Kiwanuka, who has lined up with the first team this summer in Pierre-Paul's absence. "We always feel like that one individual who gets that single should win. So having us at full strength will be a good matchup."
In his first three seasons, Pierre-Paul established himself as one of the NFL's very best defensive ends. He played in all 48 regular-season games with 27 starts and has 27.5 career sacks, 16.5 in 2011, his first Pro Bowl season. Last year, Pierre-Paul was plagued by back problems and his sack total dipped to 6.5.
On June 4, JPP underwent surgery in California to repair a herniated disk in his lower back. He has since said consistently he will return when he feels his back is 100 percent, and not for any specific game. But that day is getting closer with his return to the practice field. Pierre-Paul said the surgery accomplished what it was intended to do.
"I don't have that pain that I had before I had the surgery," JPP said. "That pain is all gone, thanks to Dr. (Robert) Watkins. That pain is all gone. At times it can get sore, but that's a regular thing; it's not uncommon, so I feel good about it."
Pierre-Paul hasn't enjoyed his role as a spectator this preseason.
"As a player, it's hard to watch your players go out there and you're not on the field to put them in the position to win," he said. "Especially the preseason games, it just gives you a headache going out there and seeing them playing. They're doing good without me. All I can do it watch, that's basically it."
Sometime soon, the Giants hope Pierre-Paul is back where he belongs, on the game field.
>> QUICK HITS
- *The Giants opened training camp with five players on PUP. Four of them are now active. Guard Chris Snee played in the two most recent games and cornerback Terrell Thomas made his preseason debut Saturday night vs. the Jets. Fullback Henry Hynoski was activated last week, but didn't play.
- The only player remaining on PUP is second-year defensive tackle Markus Kuhn, who is rehabbing from last season's knee surgery.
- *The Giants will close their preseason schedule Thursday night at New England. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30. If the Giants win they will finished with a 2-2 preseason record for the fourth year in a row.
- *The annual Champions for Children Gala to benefit the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund will be held on Friday, Oct. 25 at Cipriani on 42nd Street in Manhattan. Giants fans are invited to help the Jay Fund help kids with cancer and their families. For more information, call 212-627-1000 or go to tcjayfund.org.
- *HBO will premiere "Glickman," the documentary of longtime Giants announcer, Olympian and broadcast pioneer Marty Glickman tonight at 9 p.m. Executive produced by Martin Scorsese and written, produced and directed by his longtime radio producer James L. Freedman, "Glickman" will take fans through the Brooklyn native's amazing life, from his time at James Madison High School through his experience being denied a chance because of his Jewish roots to participate in the Berlin Olympics to his work creating and implementing many of the techniques used in broadcasting today. The longtime voice of the Knicks as well as the Giants, Glickman also served as mentor to some of sports broadcasting's biggest names, from Marv Albert and Bob Costas to current Giants voice Bob Papa and many others. With stories by Jerry Stiller, Larry King, Frank Gifford and many others, it is a unique look back into the life of a sports pioneer and a New York legend. For more information, visit Facebook: facebook.com/hbodocs; and Twitter: @HBODocs and @GlickmanTheFilm.
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