Jason Pierre-Paul: Return 'my call'

Updated: August 6, 2013, 7:03 PM ET
By Ohm Youngmisuk | ESPNNewYork.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese said Tuesday that he expects Jason Pierre-Paul to be ready for the season opener, although the star defensive end said later he still isn't sure whether he will be able to play against the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 8.

Pierre-Paul is currently on the physically unable to perform list as he makes his way back from offseason back surgery.

[+] EnlargeJason Pierre-Paul
Jim O'Connor/USA TODAY SportsJason Pierre-Paul said Tuesday it will be his call and not the doctors' when he's ready to play.

"JP's on schedule," Reese told WFAN radio Tuesday morning. "He's looking good, he's running around a little bit. He's going to be out on the field a little more than usual as we move along. We expect him hopefully to be back, ready to go for the [Week 1] Dallas game."

When Pierre-Paul underwent surgery on June 4, the team gave an initial recovery timetable for the defensive end to be ready for the opener.

"It's not really the doctors' decision," Pierre-Paul explained Tuesday. "It's basically on me. It all depends on my recovery and how my back feels and if I can go out there and practice with the team. I'm going to have to get a couple practices before if I decide to come back before the first game and go out there and play.

"I already know that I'm going to be taking on two guys, double team, triple team maybe," he added. "So I'm not in a rush to hurry up and come back to put myself in that position."

While Pierre-Paul is still weeks away from returning to practice, the Giants appear to be getting healthier. Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks said he will practice Tuesday. And starting right guard Chris Snee and veteran cornerback Terrell Thomas came off the PUP list on Tuesday.

Snee had been making his way back from offseason hip surgery and Thomas is attempting a third comeback from right knee ACL surgery. Both likely will be limited and eased back in.

"Just working my way up, just progressing toward the season," Thomas said of his expected workload for the next several days. "There's no rush. I think last year was kind of a 'let's get back out there right away.' I think this year we'll take it a little slower, you know the Domenik Hixon effect, kind of count [my] reps and that worked out well."

Hixon suffered two back-to-back ACL injuries. Thomas said the reason why he opened camp on the PUP list is because he strained his hamstring in the team's conditioning test on the first day of camp. The veteran cornerback's goal is to play in the season opener against Dallas. He is open to playing corner or safety and understands this could very well be his last chance to play in the NFL after three ACL surgeries on his right knee.

"That's how I look at it," Thomas said. "In this league, it comes by and they're looking for the next guy and there's always competition, especially when you have a lot of injuries, they count you out. I'm not looking at it that way, but I'm pushing myself to say this is my last chance to prove a lot of people wrong and to get back on the field."

Pierre-Paul also wants to make sure that he is at full strength and ready to play when he returns. Like Thomas, he will be conservative and not push it.

"When I feel comfortable going out there and taking on blocks and ready to run like the wind again, I'll be out there," Pierre-Paul said. "It's only been, what, eight weeks and the recovery time was, like, 2-3 months. It's up to me. I don't feel comfortable going out there when my body's not right."

"I'm focused on coming back 100 percent than being like 85 percent," he later added. "I know I'm going to be a big factor on the defense, so I'd rather come back 100 percent and that's it."

Reese also expects Justin Pugh, the team's first-round pick, to return from a concussion soon. The offensive lineman has been out since suffering the concussion on Thursday.

"We expect him back soon," Reese said. "But all guys who have concussions are different, they come back at different times. But we do expect him back soon."

Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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