The next chapter in the return of Jason Pierre-Paul is a glove story.
As JPP's return to the field looms, the Giants are experimenting with ways to cover his mangled right hand that will both protect it and allow him to be most effective.
At Thursday's practice, the defensive end was wearing a mitten-type wrap that had his thumb free with the remaining fingers on his hand bunched together. It was a departure from the way Pierre-Paul had taken the field for the last week, wearing a custom-made glove that allowed motion in his fingers.
"They're working on that all the time," Tom Coughlin said. "I wouldn't say it's a done deal right now."
Pierre-Paul, who said he is not in pain after damaging the hand in a July 4 fireworks accident, is scheduled to make his 2015 debut Sunday in Tampa. That gives the Giants only a few days to finalize the design of the covering he will wear while weighing the limitations each of those options presents against the benefits.
"These are the things that have to be worked through," Coughlin said. "What he wears on the hand, how we can adjust that to make him more comfortable, how he can use it. All those things have to be worked through so that he's comfortable and he's ready to go . . . He used the hand yesterday in some contact work. That part of it doesn't appear [to be an issue].''
The other aspect of concern will be Pierre-Paul's three-point stance. For now, he is limited to putting only his healthy left hand on the ground. While he can theoretically play both sides of the defensive line from that position, it will be different for him.
"[His] stance and gathering himself to come off on the ball," Coughlin said of the issue. "You can put your hand to the inside when you put your left hand down, but it's different for him. He has to work with it."
Pierre-Paul admitted there will be some challenges. "It's going to be a big adjustment," he said when he spoke on Wednesday. "This is something that I've got to get over. I did get over the bad part, but playing football, there's going to be things I've got to adjust to just like my everyday living. But there's nothing that I can't do."
He seems to be right so far, especially when it comes to being quick at the line of scrimmage.
Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said there was one play in Thursday's practice that stood out to him as he watched the tape of Pierre-Paul getting out of his stance. And offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, who has been mostly focused on his own players, said it's hard not to notice Number 90.
"He's jumping off the ball," McAdoo said. "He shows up out there. It's nice to have him."
The Giants have yet to officially say Pierre-Paul will play on Sunday, but it appears almost inevitable at this point. They'll have to add him to the active roster by 4 p.m. Saturday for that to happen. With the team not practicing on Fridays per their usual schedule, that leaves Saturday morning's workout as the last chance for a roadblock to pop up and derail the comeback.
"The look in his eye, I could tell he's ready to go," Spagnuolo said after a conversation with Pierre-Paul on Thursday. "Why would he not be? He's been away from something he loves and he's getting to play it again. So he's anxious. I think we're all anxious. Hopefully if we can get him to the point where everybody feels comfortable, we'll get him out there on Sunday."