Andrew Jones continues to his slow march back to basketball following his leukemia diagnosis earlier this year.
The Texas guard has joined his teammates for as much on-court work as his medical team will allow and “wants to be playing” while Texas continues to take a “day-to-day” approach to his comeback, Longhorns coach Shaka Smart told reporters Monday.
“It’s been great having him back. It’s terrific seeing him back on the court and doing what he loves to do,” Smart said. “He’s participated in our workouts some. There’s sometimes where he gets pulled out. The team doctor and the trainers want to make sure we’re building back his strength before he gets thrown out there full time.”
Jones lost “considerable” weight during treatments, and continues to work his way back while being enrolled full time at Texas.
“He’s like any other player. He wants to be out there. He wants to be playing,” Smart said according to the Dallas Morning News. “But we really want to make sure his strength is built back because Andrew is a guy who has high expectations of himself and if he’s out there, he wants to play like himself. We’re excited about the growth he’s making and obviously there’s more to come.”
Texas opens the season Nov. 6, and the Longhorns aren’t dismissing the idea that Jones will suit up and play for them this season, though they’re understandably and rightfully taking a cautious and measured approach to the situation. Ultimately, you’d have to believe, it’ll be a doctor’s determination.
“I think he would like to (play),” Smart said, “but we have to make sure we do what makes the most sense for him long term, and also what makes the most sense for our team.”
Jones’ diagnosis last winter was obviously a frightening one, but he his battle against the disease and his work toward returning to the floor has been an inspiring fight.