Report: Bucs' Jason Pierre-Paul Cleared for Rehab 4 Months After Car Accident

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst IAugust 27, 2019

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - NOVEMBER 18:   Jason Pierre-Paul #90 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers walks on the field after the game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on November 18, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Jason Pierre-Paul is on schedule.

According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end has been cleared by the team as well as independent doctors to resume his rehabilitation activities. 

"Still a process to be cleared to play, but positive steps after rare and serious injury," Pelissero added. 

The reported progress comes after Pierre-Paul fractured his neck in a single-car crash in May. At the time, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Pierre-Paul would visit neck specialists and "see if there's hope to save this season" and added "the belief is that he likely will need surgery."

However, Pierre-Paul did not undergo surgery. Pelissero predicted on May 10 the timeline for the two-time Pro Bowler, and thus far, Pierre-Paul is recovering accordingly:

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

With surgery off the table, the plan is to recheck #Bucs DE Jason Pierre-Paul's fractured vertebra at the 4-month mark, source said. The good news: Three independent doctors concurred it'll heal on its own. Expected timeline is 5-6 months, if not sooner.

"All we can do is just pray and hope for the best and hope it's one of those five- or six-month things and go from there," Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said in May, according to ESPN's Jenna Laine

Earlier Tuesday, Pierre-Paul was present at Bucs' practice:

Greg Auman @gregauman

Here’s a new face: Bucs OLB Jason Pierre-Paul is watching practice today. Still a while off recovering from neck fracture from May car accident. https://t.co/XGoYPMaMzi

Pierre-Paul has proven he's capable of returning to the field from serious injury. On July 4, 2015, fireworks blew up in his right hand and forced him to have one of his fingers amputated. "I'm looking at my [right] hand and I'm seeing every ligament," Pierre-Paul told Sports Illustrated's Jason Buckland in April 2016. "You only see this stuff in the movies."

As a result, Pierre-Paul underwent 10 separate surgeries and lost 30 pounds. Once he returned to the New York Giants, where he played from 2010 to 2017, he began wearing a club to protect his hand.

Pierre-Paul recorded one sack in eight games throughout the 2015 season, but overall since his hand injury, he has 29 sacks—including 12.5 last season, his first season in Tampa Bay following a trade in March 2018.

The hope now is for Pierre-Paul to bounce back once again and be ready to play by November at the latest. From the Bucs' perspective, losing Pierre-Paul for any amount of time hurts the defensive line doubly so after the team lost All-Pro defensive tackle Gerald McCoy in free agency on a one-year deal to the Carolina Panthers.

Following McCoy's departure and Pierre-Paul's injury, Tampa signed Ndamukong Suh to a one-year contract.