Seeing Jason Pierre-Paul on the Bucs injury report has been a common occurrence over the past three years. Yet the 32 year-old outside linebacker has missed just six games, all due to a neck/back injury in 2019. After playing through a knee injury all of last season, Pierre-Paul now finds himself back on the injury report with a shoulder concern. This time, the injury could be more significant than originally thought.
Posting on his Instagram story on Wednesday, Pierre-Paul wrote “Only God knows da true meaning of setbacks. Let’s go get this news feedback”. Pierre-Paul posted from the steps of an airplane, with video of him flying over mountains on the rest of his story.
While it isn’t obvious where Pierre-Paul was going or what his message actually means, there is plenty of evidence for some concern. The 12th-year pass rusher missed Wednesday’s practice with a listed hand/shoulder injury, after missing practices with a hand injury last week. It’s speculation, but it appears Pierre-Paul may have been flying somewhere for a medical opinion on his shoulder. This may be the “setback” he was referring to in his post.
If Pierre-Paul can’t play on Sunday against the Rams, rookie Joe Tryon-Shoyinka would make his first NFL start. Tryon-Shoyinka has flashed high-end ability in the preseason and in his first two regular season games. He’s not as well-rounded or as versatile a player as Pierre-Paul right now, but Tryon-Shoyinka would still give the Bucs important pass rush chops off the edge. Third-year outside linebacker Anthony Nelson would likely see an increased role as well.
Top kick/punt returner Jaydon Mickens joined Pierre-Paul on the injury report with a hip concern on Wednesday. Bucs head coach Bruce Arians described both players as day-to-day. The Bucs are already without starting cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting due to an elbow injury. In addition, backup linebacker Kevin Minter and wide receiver Antonio Brown currently sit on the COVID list.