Creighton's Josh Jones returned home Friday, but the senior guard will undergo more tests next week to determine when he might return to playing basketball.
Jones collapsed during warmups Thursday night before the Bluejays played Nebraska at the Devaney Center. He was taken by ambulance to a Lincoln hospital, was kept there overnight for observation and then was allowed to return to Omaha on Friday.
Creighton coach Greg McDermott said Jones met with doctors Friday and will have additional tests to determine what caused the episode.
“We hope to know more next week,” McDermott said Friday afternoon. “It's a situation where you have to eliminate a lot of things. We hope that it's not too serious and that at some point we get him back.”
The concern about Jones' health is magnified given that he underwent open-heart surgery in 2007 when he was a senior at Omaha Central. An infection in the lining of a heart valve required doctors to replace it.
Jones has had no problems since, and has received clean bills of health during annual heart tests.
In a statement released by the university, Jones said he was “in good spirits and doing well. The support from Bluejay nation has been overwhelming and proves what the Creighton family is all about.”
Jones was going through warmups Thursday night when he became ill about 40 minutes before game time.
“He was going through his routine when he fell over and blacked out for a few seconds,” McDermott said. “He came to and we got him back into the locker room. Fortunately, the EMTs were right there and we got him to the hospital.”
Jones' teammates remained on the court. When they returned to the locker room to put on their game uniforms, they were greeted by the sight of their teammate on a stretcher with electronic monitors attached to his body.
“Not exactly the best way to get focused for a game,” McDermott said. “But I think it was good that they could see Josh before he went to the hospital.”
Creighton forward Doug McDermott said the players were instructed to go to an adjoining locker room.
“We gave him a fist pound and he told us to play hard,” Doug McDermott said. “He's family to us, so it hurts to see something like this happen to him. We're all with him, and we'll continue to play hard for him.”
Jones possesses perhaps the most effervescent personality on the team, and he was especially excited about Thursday's game because it was at the Devaney Center. He won three state Class A championships there with Central.
“That's where he became a legend,” Doug said, smiling.
He said the players talked with Jones by speakerphone after the game, which the Bluejays won 64-42. Greg McDermott visited Jones in the hospital and talked to him Friday.
The coach said he's never had a player become ill as Jones did.
“You read about things like that, and it's scary stuff,” McDermott said. “It's your worst nightmare that something like that could potentially happen. I feel awful for Josh, but I'm glad we had the right people around to take care of him and we got him to the hospital quickly to find out it wasn't anything more serious.”
Jones had been playing about 20 minutes a game and averaging 7.0 points during Creighton's 7-1 start. He is usually the first guard off the bench. Without him, McDermott shortened his rotation, with seven players getting the bulk of the minutes against the Huskers.
“With what we went through before the game, I went with the vets,” McDermott said. “I'm not sure I can ride those guys that many minutes every game. We won't be able to play the way we want to play if we do. Everyone is going to have to assume a little more responsibility until we find out when we'll get Josh back.”
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