Jason Pierre-Paul, who suffered a serious neck injury in a one-car accident last week, is holding off on surgery.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass rusher has received several opinions on his fractured vertebra and is electing to proceed with a non-surgical path to recovery, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per multiple sources.
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero added via sources that the plan is to recheck JPP's vertebra at the four-month mark after three independent doctors concurred it'll heal on its own. His expected timeline is 5-6 months, if not sooner, which could mean Pierre-Paul returns in October or November.
"We've got our fingers crossed and praying for him," Bucs coach Bruce Arians told reporters earlier Friday, via Greg Auman of The Athletic. "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."
Losing Pierre-Paul, who is set to enter his 10th season, for any part of 2019 deals a blow to Tampa Bay's defense. The veteran DE joined the Bucs in March of 2018 after being traded by the New York Giants and he went on to produce a team-leading 12.5 sacks in 16 starts last season.
But football aside, the clear priority now is to look out for Pierre-Paul's overall health.