Report: Jason Pierre-Paul cleared for rehab months after crash left him with a fractured vertebra

Ryan YoungYahoo Sports Contributor

After a scary car accident last spring, it sounds like Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is on the right path to returning to the field this fall after all.

Pierre-Paul was cleared to resume rehab activities by both Buccaneers and independent doctors on Tuesday, according to the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, less than four months after a car crash left him with a fractured vertebra in his neck.

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Pierre-Paul reportedly lost control of his Ferrari early on May 2 in wet conditions and hit a concrete barrier on a freeway median near the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in South Florida. Pierre-Paul — who told 911 dispatchers that he was fine at the time — and his passenger were then both transported to the hospital. It wasn’t until a secondary evaluation by specialists that the fracture in his neck was revealed.

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The 30-year-old declined to have surgery on his neck days later after three independent doctors determined that his neck would heal by itself. Now, nearly four months later, it appears Pierre-Paul’s neck is doing just that.

It will still take time to ensure that his vertebra is fully healed, however, and he still needs to officially be cleared by doctors to play again. Tuesday’s news, though, is certainly a welcome sign in what was widely expected to be a career-ending injury.

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Pierre-Paul recorded 58 tackles with the Buccaneers last season, his first with the organization after the New York Giants traded him for a pair of draft picks. He led the team with 12.5 sacks that season, too, six more than the player with the second-most on the team.

Doctors initially expected that it would take Pierre-Paul five to six months to return. If his rehab goes well, it’s possible that Pierre-Paul could return to the team as soon as early October.

Jason Pierre-Paul declined to have surgery after a car crash left him with a fractured vertebra in his neck in May. (Cliff Welch/Getty Images)
Jason Pierre-Paul declined to have surgery after a car crash left him with a fractured vertebra in his neck in May. (Cliff Welch/Getty Images)

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