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Jason Pierre-Paul's amputated finger is only one of many issues for him and the Giants

Since it broke over the Fourth of July weekend, the Jason Pierre-Paul story has been by turns alarming, confusing and disgusting. Wednesday's news that the New York Giants' star defensive end had his right index finger amputated as a result of a fireworks accident was a headline for obvious reasons. But the amputation is only one aspect of a very complex situation that's a long way from getting resolved.

Based on the conversations I've had with people involved in this situation, this is my attempt to clarify and explain as much as possible about it:

1. Pierre-Paul has a lot of healing to do: As we reported Sunday, Pierre-Paul suffered a variety of damage to his hands, including burns, possible nerve damage and (as our Ed Werder reported Wednesday) thumb fractures. So he has spent the week in the hospital, where he and his doctors have assessed the damage and tried to make plans for treating it. My understanding is that Pierre-Paul agreed to the amputation because he felt it was the best course of action for his ability to resume a normal life and his playing career. If that's the conclusion he reached, then the damage to that finger must have been pretty extensive and would have been difficult to live with. I'm also told Pierre-Paul had skin grafts to treat the burns and, as Werder reported, had surgery to repair his right thumb, which now has pins in it. The recovery time from the thumb surgery is estimated at six weeks, by which time I am told he'll have had time to recover from the amputation as well.

2. There remains a strong chance he misses regular-season games: That six-week recovery time puts Pierre-Paul on the practice field in Week 2 of the preseason at the very earliest, three-and-a-half weeks before the Sept. 13 season opener in Dallas. It's important to note that Pierre-Paul has yet to participate in a single practice since the Giants hired new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, as Pierre-Paul skipped all of organized team activities and minicamp because of his contract situation. One former Giants player told me Wednesday that it took Hall of Famer Michael Strahan a month to understand the defense during Spagnuolo's first stint as coordinator. Even if Pierre-Paul had been able to start camp on time, he would have been way behind. Now, the idea of him being physically and mentally ready to play Week 1 seems almost impossible. Multiple people connected with the Giants told me Wednesday that they expected Pierre-Paul to miss at least the first three games of the season, and that was before the news broke about the amputation and the thumb surgery.

3. The contract issue remains a big one here: Pierre-Paul still has not yet signed the one-year, $14.813 million franchise tender the team gave him this spring, which technically means he's not under contract with the team and technically means the team could still rescind that tender and make him an unrestricted free agent. My understanding is that the Giants do not plan to rescind the tender, but that the financial issues have yet to be worked out.

If Pierre-Paul signs the tender, the Giants could put him on the non-football injury list at the start of camp. If he's still on that NFI list at the start of the regular season, he has to miss at least the first six games, and the Giants could elect not to pay him for those games. But if Pierre-Paul doesn't sign the tender before camp, then he gains some control over when he gets on the field and could prevent the team from starting him on NFI to begin the season. That means he could come back earlier than Week 7, but it might lead to an ugly dispute with the team over pay. It's also possible the team and Pierre-Paul could come to some sort of settlement with regard to potential missed games. For example, the NFI list offers the team the opportunity to withhold pay for missed games, but it doesn't require them to do so. There could be some wiggle room. But those conversations are for down the road -- once Pierre-Paul is out of the hospital and on his road to recovery.

One very important thing to note here, however, is that this incident did not affect Pierre-Paul's chances to get a long-term deal done this offseason. The Giants and Pierre-Paul have had no substantive discussions on a long-term deal since January, and there was no indication that anything was going to change on that before Wednesday's deadline. Long before Pierre-Paul got hurt playing with fireworks, the Giants had concerns about his history with health and inconsistency and wanted to wait another year before deciding whether to commit to him long-term. The current situation makes it less likely he gets that long-term deal next year, for reasons outlined in the next paragraph, but it didn't cost him a chance at getting one prior to the start of the 2015 season. That chance never really existed.

4. He's going to have to learn to play differently: The amputation might have been the clearest way back to the field for Pierre-Paul, but that doesn't mean he'll automatically be the same player he was. By definition, a hand missing a finger is going to lack the strength of a hand with all of its fingers. Pierre-Paul's job involves extensive use of his hands, as he grapples with offensive linemen trying to block him, and he's likely going to have to learn to rely more on his left hand (and potentially more on power moves) than he has in the past. Pierre-Paul's success has been the result of his remarkable natural athleticism, and significant damage to his body is going to require him to make adjustments in the way he plays. For that reason, it's fair to wonder whether he can be as effective as he was before this happened. Only time will tell.

5. Let's remember that this is a human being, please: I know everybody wants their football team to do well. But Jason Pierre-Paul is a 26-year-old man who just became a father and is dealing with a scary, life-altering trauma. Yes, he did a dumb thing. We all do dumb things. We hope they don't have ugly consequences, but sometimes they do. I know the Giants are upset, and I know fans are upset, but no one is as upset about this as Pierre-Paul, and no one else lost a body part over it. He's the one sitting in a hospital bed wondering how this is going to affect his life, his career and his family. That's heavy stuff. These players are people, not merely characters who appear in a TV show every Sunday afternoon in the fall. We lose sight of that too often, and as we process all of this over the coming days, weeks and months, it's worth pausing to think about the real-life part of it.