New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is "doing well" after back surgery, says teammate Justin Tuck, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN New York. Tuck said that both he and Pierre-Paul expect him to be ready for the season opener against the NFC East rival Dallas Cowboys.
Pierre-Paul underwent back surgery on June 5 and his recovery time was initially pegged as approximately 12 weeks. That recovery time will put him right on the edge of returning for that season opener on Sept. 8, but Tuck and Pierre-Paul are making it clear that they expect to be in action.
If he doesn't make it back in time, it will be the first missed game of Pierre-Paul's career. As a rookie, Pierre-Paul wasn't a full-time starter and managed just 4.5 sacks, but he made his first Pro Bowl in his second season, racking up 16.5 sacks. That was good for fourth in the NFL that year.
Last season, Pierre-Paul saw his production drop significantly, as he had only 6.5 sacks. That said, he was a little banged up over the course of the season. New York's defense has been solid since Pierre-Paul became a full-time starter. They were first in the NFL in tackles last season, and also managed 21 forced fumbles, good for fourth in the league.
The season before that, the team was second in tackles and third in the NFL in sacks, behind only Minnesota and Philadelphia. There's no data on how New York's defensive line plays without Pierre-Paul, but smart money is on them being a much better team with him in the lineup, even if he's not at 100 percent.