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Former 49ers Great Ronnie Lott Gives Jason Pierre-Paul Advice on Injury

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five

Nearly 30 years later, Ronnie Lott still remembers every sensation he felt when he made the decision to amputate part of his finger. And he vividly remembers the shock when he finally saw what he had done, Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News reports.

“When the doctor took off the bandage to my hand he said, ‘How does it look?’?” Lott recalled on Friday during an appearance on “The Rich Eisen Show.” “I’ll never forget, I was sitting there going, ‘Man, that looks like ET’s head.’?”

He can chuckle now, but his experience back in 1986 was mostly about pain, which is what Lott said lies ahead for Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. And while Lott said Pierre-Paul can absolutely overcome the physical pain of losing his right index finger after a Fourth of July fireworks accident and return to playing at a Pro Bowl level, the emotional pain might be the bigger obstacle to overcome.

“He’ll be able to play with it and he’ll learn how to deal with it,” Lott said. “But the moment of not seeing it, the moment of looking at your hand and looking down and realizing you have that phantom (finger), where you use your finger but you don’t see it, there’s a lot of things emotionally that he’ll have to deal with. He’ll have to learn how to understand that it’s not there and that there are things that will play tricks on his mind.”

Lott, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2000, dealt with that in the spring of 1986 after he broke his left pinkie finger near the end of the ’85 season. He had broken it so many times, doctors told him it would never fully heal and they recommended amputation. Lott agreed, though he said he struggled for six months afterward with the reality of what he had done.

“When they took (the bandage) off, you look at your hand and you go, ‘Wait a minute. It’s gone,’” Lott said. “And (there’s still) all the sensations of knowing that it’s still a part of your spirit, part of who you are.”

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