TAMPA ― A cryptic message appeared on Jason Pierre-Paul’s Instagram timeline Wednesday, along with a photo of his two feet on a private airplane boarding ladder.
“Only God knows the true meaning of setbacks,” wrote the Bucs outside linebacker, who missed practice with a shoulder injury. “Let’s go get this news feedback.”
Pierre-Paul traveled to Denver Wednesday to get a second opinion on his ailing shoulder, but the recommendation was the same as the first.
No surgery at this time, just rest to see how the shoulder responds. Pierre-Paul missed his second consecutive practice Thursday, but he won’t go on injured reserve and the Bucs are holding out some slim hope he will play Sunday at Los Angeles.
If he can’t, third-year backup Anthony Nelson and 2021 first-round draft pick Joe Tryon-Shoyinka are ready to step in, defensive coordinator Todd Bowles said Thursday. Nelson has one tackle in 21 defensive snaps through the first two games. Tryon-Shoyinka has four tackles and a quarterback hit in 40 defensive snaps.
“I feel comfortable that (Tryon-Shoyinka) has gotten a lot of reps, and he’s been here from Day 1 along with Nelson,” Bowles said. “So if we have guys that have to play in case somebody doesn’t play, we feel comfortable putting anybody in whether they’re rookies or vets.”
Pierre-Paul knows something about injuries. A fireworks accident on July 4, 2015 mangled his right hand and several fingers had to be amputated.
In 2019, he suffered a neck fracture in a single-car accident before training camp and missed the first six games. He returned to record 8.5 sacks.
Last season, Pierre-Paul battled through a knee injury to lead the Bucs with 9-1/2 sacks and was named to the Pro Bowl.
“At the end of the day, we’re definitely going to miss JPP if he’s not playing,” veteran defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh said. “But we expect other guys to step up and fill in that role.”
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