TAMPA, Fla. — A determination has not been made as to whether Tampa Bay Buccaneers star pass-rusher Jason Pierre-Paul will need neck surgery, but coach Bruce Arians says the best-case scenario would be that the defensive end is out five to six months.
“I think [the evaluation] is still ongoing, and like [GM] Jason [Licht] said, we’ve got our fingers crossed and praying for him,” Arians said, speaking for the first time since Pierre-Paul was involved in single-car crash in Broward County last week.
Sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Pierre-Paul suffered a fractured neck, which could force him to miss the season. Last year, Pierre-Paul led the team with 12.5 sacks, becoming the first Buccaneers player to reach double-digit sacks since 2005.
“[It’s] very unfortunate,” Arians said. “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.”
On May 2 at 2:35 a.m., Pierre-Paul and a passenger, James Harold Thompson, were traveling southbound on Interstate 95 when Pierre-Paul lost control of his Ferrari and veered off the roadway to the left, colliding with a concrete barrier.
Pierre-Paul was not given a citation. The Florida Highway Patrol told ESPN that they did not deem that he was distracted, nor did they suspect impairment, which is why a field sobriety test wasn’t conducted.
The official crash report states that slippery road conditions and rain contributed to the crash. Both men were transported to Broward Health Medical Center with injuries deemed “non-incapacitating,” according to the official crash report.
Arians said he talked to Pierre-Paul after the accident.
“[I told him] he has my prayers and just stay positive,” Arians said.
As for how they will replace Pierre-Paul, Arians said, “I don’t know what the answer is yet, if he’s gonna play, if he’s not gonna play. [You] just practice with the guys you have, just like if anybody else gets hurt, on the field or off the field. You march on.”