Complications from an initial procedure on Josh Jones' heart condition have forced Creighton guard Josh Jones to step away from college basketball.
Jones collapsed during warmups before the Bluejays' game with Nebraska earlier this month, and after some testing it was determined he would need to go undergo a procedure to correct an atrial flutter an would be out at least until mid-to-late January. Because the procedure did not go as planned, Jones was forced to make the tough decision to end his career -- possibly for good.
He broke the news via a series of tweets on Wednesday.
Today I would like to announce my early retirement 4rm my collegiate athletic career, and potentially further basketball aspirations.—Josh Jones(@62JJonesy) December 27, 2012
I'm may not have my career at bball anymore.but I do have my career in a healthy life and other successful opportunities. Thanks for support—Josh Jones(@62JJonesy) December 27, 2012
After being so strong having to be away from the game.. I shed a tear of bitter sweetness about the feelings as I walk away from the game—Josh Jones(@62JJonesy) December 27, 2012
I can honestly say that leaving the game, I have no regrets and I left it all on the floor.—Josh Jones(@62JJonesy) December 27, 2012
Jones and his head coach Greg McDermott spoke to the media Thursday, where Jones reiterated that he had made the decision to retire, or rather, that the decision was made for him.
"As far as college, obviously because of the timing and everything, I'm supposed to go back in January for a check-up to be re-evaluated, make sure everything's right for me to be cleared," Jones said. "But knowing that the surgery was a partial success, I will have to get another surgery, and then we started finding out there were further complications ... it wouldn't allow me time to come back and play in college. And it ultimately makes me scared as a man. I love life, such as everyone else does, and I don't feel safe playing."
Once Jones' first procedure did not go as planned, the door for him returning to the court this season for the Bluejays was pretty much closed. But Jones waited until after Christmas had passed before making that fact public.
Jones is going to take some time for himself as he comes to terms with his situation, but as his coach said, he is still a big part of the team and will continue to be so. Jones said he plans on being at practice when he can, and will also sit on the bench during games. McDermott said that even though he can't play, his presence still has a big impact on the team.
"He comes by practice, he's talking to guys when they're on the sidelines, and then in games he can be very valuable, especially with some of the younger guys that have fulfilled his role of having to be that spark off the bench," McDermott said. "Josh has got a good understanding of the game, he gets it, he understands what we're trying to do, and he can be another coach on the sideline for us."
Jones, who was averaging 7.0 points per game for the Jays, will be missed as a consistent offensive spark off the bench. The Jays will need a few players to step up in his absence, something senior guard Grant Gibbs knows full well.
"He's done a ton for this team, on and off the court," Gibbs said. "Different guys are going to have to step up, and that's something Josh has talked about with our team and different guys that need to fill that role and his production off the bench."
For a full retrospective on Jones' career and how he became a #Legend in Omaha, check out this awesome piece on White & Blue Review.
His basketball career might have come to an end, but Jones is still a Bluejay and his trademark smile will still be visible on the sidelines on game day.
"As tough as it is, I'm going to keep smiling," Jones said. "I just want everybody to know that I'm going to be okay."