The Giants could know as soon as Tuesday afternoon whether they can count on defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul returning sometime this season, a source familiar with the team's situation told Newsday on Monday.
Pierre-Paul flew to New Jersey on Monday and was examined by the Giants' team doctors, according to a source. The defensive end suffered extensive damage to his right hand in a July 4 fireworks accident and had his entire index finger amputated. Portions of his thumb and middle finger were removed, and he had surgery to repair fractures in his thumb and required multiple skin grafts.
The Giants and Pierre-Paul have until Nov. 17 to reach a contract agreement. If they can't work out a deal by then, he will be disqualified from playing for the rest of the season, according to the rules governing the franchise tender. The Giants designated him as their franchise player after last season, giving them exclusive negotiating rights.
Another source told Newsday earlier this month that the team was cautiously optimistic that Pierre-Paul will be able to return before the end of the season, possibly for the final four games, if not longer. The source also indicated that the team wouldn't get an accurate assessment until he was examined.
Pierre-Paul met with the team the week before the regular-season opener and was sent home to South Florida after team doctors and officials determined he needed more time to heal. NFL rules allow only two medical visits for free agents, meaning that Monday's examination was the final one even if the Giants aren't ready to reach an agreement with Pierre-Paul and want to wait until sometime between now and Nov. 17.
Tom Coughlin was vague about Pierre-Paul's status when he spoke to reporters Monday. Pierre-Paul hadn't arrived at the team's practice facility when Coughlin spoke.
"When he does [arrive], we'll let you know," Coughlin said. "And it's all going to start with the medical [evaluation]."
The Giants have only 10 sacks in their first seven games. Damontre Moore leads the team with 31/2, but he was not active for Sunday's 27-20 win over the Cowboys. Moore had been penalized for pile-driving Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford in the 27-7 loss to the Eagles on Oct. 19 and essentially was benched by Coughlin, who declined to elaborate on his decision to sit Moore.