TAMPA — Jason Pierre-Paul will forgo surgery, for now, on his fractured neck, and Bucs coach Bruce Arians said the team is hopeful the defensive end can return in 5-6 months.
That would mean, in a best-case scenario, that Pierre-Paul would not return until late September or early October. If the 10-year veteran requires surgery, he likely would miss the season.
Arians said Friday that he has spoken to Pierre-Paul, who fractured his neck in a one-car crash May 2, but had no further update on his condition.
“No, I think that’s still ongoing, and like (general manager) Jason (Licht) said, you know, we’ve got our fingers crossed and praying for him,’’ Arians said. “It’s very unfortunate. And all we can do is pray and hope for the best, and hope it’s one of those five- or six-month things and go from there.’’
Pierre-Paul, who led the Bucs with 12½ sacks last season after being acquired in a trade with the Giants, lost control of his red Ferrari in wet conditions the morning of Sept. 2 and hit a concrete barrier on Interstate 95 near the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Pierre-Paul, who is from nearby Deerfield Beach, is heard on a 911 call to the Florida Highway Patrol saying he was not injured but needed help to be removed from his car.
Pierre-Paul, 30, and his passenger, James Thompson, 31, were taken to Broward Health Medical Center around 3 a.m., the report said. The FHP report said Pierre-Paul’s condition was “apparently normal’’ at the time of the crash.
But the Bucs had Pierre-Paul evaluated last week by specialists, who reportedly discovered a fracture in a neck vertebrae.
Arians said he told Pierre-Paul “he has my prayers and just stay positive.”
Arians said the Bucs have not started to make contingency plans if Pierre-Paul is unable to play this season.
"I don’t know what the answer is yet, if he’s going to play, if he’s not going to play,'' Arians said. "We’ll just practice with the guys we have. It’s just like anybody else getting hurt, on the field or off the field. You march on.''