NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — This is going to hurt.
The Giants have four games remaining to turn an 8-4 record into their first playoff playoff appearance since winning the Super Bowl following the 2011 season.
They will forge ahead without Jason Pierre-Paul.
According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the veteran defensive end had sports hernia surgery on Wednesday morning and is expected to be out at least six weeks.
Pierre-Paul, who had really turned his season around in recent weeks following a slow start, suffered a groin injury during the second quarter of Sunday’s 24-14 loss in Pittsburgh. The two-time Pro Bowler had 5 1/2 sacks and nine tackles in his previous two games, including being named NFC Defensive Player of the Week in Week 12.
“It’s just pulled,” JPP said following the game, clearly unaware that the problem was more serious. “Not too many details that I know of. No, it doesn’t concern me at all. We’ll see. It was frustrating, especially when I’m sitting out. It sucks to watch it in our locker room.”
The injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for New York, which currently sits in the first wild card spot in the NFC, but will have to navigate a December minefield to secure a spot in the postseason. The Giants face league-best Dallas at home on Sunday, and then close the season with games against NFC Central-leading Detroit, and playoff hopefuls Philadelphia and Washington, the latter two on the road.
Pierre-Paul’s season had been a rousing success considering it was his first full campaign since suffering a horrific injury to his right hand during a fireworks mishap on July 4, 2015. He missed the first eight games last season, and when he did return registered just one sack.
Now 27 and in the prime of his career, Pierre-Paul turned down a reportedly lucrative offer from Arizona during the offseason to return to the Giants on more or less a prove-it one-year, $10.5 million contract.
In his absence, the Giants are going to have to find a way to make up for the pressure Pierre-Paul puts on opposing quarterbacks, not to mention the overall menace he had again become. His seven sacks overall this season are one less than team leader Olivier Vernon. He also put up 53 tackles, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and a touchdown.
As CBS2’s Steve Overmyer reported, JPP sent out a photo on instagram on Wednesday, and said the surgery went well, and that he’s feeling better already.
Right now the Giants are just trying to get to the playoffs, but if they get there JPP could be available for the NFC Championship Game if he heals fast.