Buccaneers outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul has been nursing (and for the last three weeks, playing through) nagging injuries to his hand and shoulder.
If you watched Tampa Bay's 38-3 annihilation of the Chicago Bears on Sunday, you probably wouldn't have realized Pierre-Paul was playing hurt if not for the massive club on his arm. He played a big part in the Buccaneers limiting the Bears to three points and creating five turnovers, contributing four tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and a tackle for loss.
It was a remarkable performance for the 32-year-old, especially considering that he told local media that he's playing through a torn rotator cuff and a finger broken in two places.
Pierre-Paul's injuries date back to earlier this season, the finger injury first appearing on the injury report ahead of Tampa Bay's Week 2 matchup with Atlanta. Pierre-Paul would play that week, but was recommended rest by a specialist after suffering his shoulder injury. He proceeded to miss the Buccaneers' next two games.
Since his return to the lineup, Pierre-Paul was averaging 41 defensive snaps per week prior to Sunday's contest with the Bears. Snaps counts were not immediately available following the game.
Although he hasn't undergone a full workload since his return, seeing Pierre-Paul play through his injury and produce in a big way is a sight to see. The Buccaneers can afford to offer Pierre-Paul additional rest with rookie Joe Tryon-Shoyinka behind him on the depth chart, but that seems unlikely at this point: Pierre-Paul is one of the toughest NFL players you'll ever watch.
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