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JPP details finger injury, vows to play Sunday


Jason Pierre-Paul has a fracture in his finger, but aims to play on Sunday:

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Jason Pierre-Paul today revealed why he is once again playing games with a club on his right hand.

"I fractured my finger," he said. "I basically broke it."

Asked which finger, he said, "I'm not worried about that. Any more questions about the game?" Moments later, he said, "Ain't no sympathy over here, man. I'm going out to play a game and I'm going 110 percent, so they better be ready. So that's basically it."

That ended the finger discussion. Pierre-Paul, who did not practice either of the previous two days, did so on a limited basis today. He is listed as questionable for the Giants' game Sunday against the Cardinals in Arizona. JPP believes he will take his customary place at the end of the defensive line.

"I'm always planning to play, man," he said. "I'm ready to go. I'm getting on the plane tomorrow and we're going to Arizona, and I'm ready to run around."

Steve Spagnuolo, the Giants' interim head coach, was asked how much Pierre-Paul can do.

"He got some work in today," Spagnuolo said. "We'll see what we get tomorrow. Those guys – O.V. (Olivier Vernon), JPP – those guys never like to come out, but we're going to have to roll some people through there, I think."

Spagnuolo said, "I don't think it (JPP's hand) has gotten worse. You'd have to ask him, but it's been other things, too, and we just wanted to make sure we have him fresh for Sunday."

Pierre-Paul's right hand has been the subject of much scrutiny since it was severely injured in a fireworks accident on July 4, 2015. He missed the first half of that season, before playing in the final eight games with a bulky club on his hand. Last year, he switched to a smaller and more flexible glove, which he wore this season until breaking his finger in Oakland on Dec. 3.

Pierre-Paul has started every game this season. He leads the Giants with 6.5 sacks and is fourth with 62 tackles (42 solo). JPP also has three passes defensed and two forced fumbles. He said the return of the club has not affected his production.

"It's not going to affect my play, man, at all," he said. "With it or without it, I'm going to be the same person. I'm not even worried about anything. I can protect myself. Like I said, I will be out there running this week and I'm very excited to play a football game."

*Safety Nat Berhe (hamstring) is also questionable.

*Two players were declared out for Sunday's game: linebacker B.J. Goodson (ankle) and wide receiver Tavarres King (concussion). Goodson began the season with an 18-tackle performance in Dallas. But he will missing his eighth game of the year on Sunday.

"It's just been one of those injury-prone years," Spagnuolo said. "And it's hard to get in the groove at any position, especially mike linebacker, he's the quarterback of the defense. So it's hard to get in a groove when it's a couple games, then you're out. I'm sure he's frustrated. Sometimes those high ankles, they don't respond real well."

*Spagnuolo said Geno Smith will remain as Eli Manning's backup at quarterback, "unless something changes between now and Sunday." He said it's unlikely rookie Davis Webb will be active against the Cardinals.

"I don't think we'd be able to do that, it's just too tricky with 46 (active players)," Spagnuolo said.

*Spagnuolo has a healthy respect for the 6-8 Cardinals, whom he faced twice a year when he was head coach of the Rams from 2009-11.

"I know one thing – (coach) Bruce (Arians) does a great job there," Spagnuolo said. "His offense is still a tough one to defend. He knows how to attack a weakness. I see some of the Pittsburgh Steelers stuff that he used to do, and defensively, I've always admired what they did on defense, being disruptive and heavy with pressures, and I've always respected what they did there. Then I go right back to the experience in the kicking game with the two kickers they have. I remember going against (Andy) Lee when I was with the Rams, and he was with the 49ers, and him being good there. And (Phil) Dawson's been doing it for so long, you've got to be careful with him.

"I just think they've got players there that you have to be concerned about, and they've won enough football games, I think it's six. I know they've had some misfortune here and there. They've hit the injury bug just like we have, but we're planning on playing a good football team. Of course, to go away – and I've played down there before – it's not an easy place to play, so we'll have to be ready."

*Spagnuolo also has a high regard for wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who is third in NFL history in catches (1,217) and receiving yards (15,371).

"There's admiration and appreciation," Spagnuolo said. "He's been doing it at a high level for a long time, and he's a class guy. I had some interaction at the Pro Bowl one year. But he keeps on doing it. I'm sure it raises the level of that whole offense to have a guy like that, with all that experience, and he's got the competitive greatness, which all the great ones have. He's a guy we've got to be concerned about, obviously."

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