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Jason Pierre-Paul off PUP list

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants have taken Jason Pierre-Paul off the physically unable to perform list.

The star defensive end had been sidelined since undergoing surgery on his back June 4. The Giants' timetable for return was for Pierre-Paul to potentially be ready for the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 8.

Pierre-Paul said that while the pain in his back from before his surgery is no longer there, he is still taking things day to day. And he remains unsure of whether he will be ready for the opener.

"I am not playing any preseason games," Pierre-Paul said of the preseason finale against New England on Thursday. "I don't even know [about] the Dallas game. Right now I am trying to get better and test it out and see how it is, taking on double-teams. Right now [there] is nothing to be said [about if] I [am] going to play come the opener or not. I am taking it day by day."

Pierre-Paul said it was his decision to come off the PUP list. He was to go through individual work in practice Monday. He said the individual work he's done on the side during his rehab is harder than the individual drills players go through during the team's practices.

Pierre-Paul has experienced soreness he described as normal and that his back "felt great" throughout the workouts on the side.

"It's a big step," he said of coming off the PUP list. "I have been working hard lately. I am going to do good out there. I feel more comfortable about myself going out there and practicing with the team."

"I don't have [a] goal," he added of what's next. "I am taking it day by day. I am not trying to rush. A back [injury] is a serious thing. Back surgery is a serious thing. You can't try coming [back] too early; you will mess it up even more so."

Pierre-Paul played through back pain for much of last season and saw his sacks total dip from 16.5 in 2011 to 6.5. He has said that he will not return to game action until he is confident his back is at full strength.

Nevertheless, the Giants are thrilled to see their best defensive player back on the field.

"He's our best defensive playmaker, hands down," said safety Antrel Rolle, who was to return to practice Monday from an ankle injury. "With him having the surgery and trying to get him back to tip-top form, hopefully we are going to see a performance that he has never, ever shown us.

"We are looking for miraculous things out of JPP. And he is the type of guy that can give it to us."

So far, Pierre-Paul says he is pain-free. If that remains the case for another couple of weeks, he will make the decision whether to play against Dallas.

"I don't have that pain that I had before the surgery," he said. "That pain is all gone. At times it can get sore but that is a regular thing. That is not uncommon. I feel pretty good about it.

"It is my decision to come off PUP. And it is going to be my decision to play, nobody else's."