Virginia running back Perris Jones was shaking all of his bones after taking a hit on the helmet late in the third quarter against Louisville on Thursday night.
Jones was taken to University of Louisville Hospital after the incident, and school officials said he regained movement in all of his hips after he got there.
Coach Tony Elliott said in the previous post-game news conference that he was getting “encouraging” news from the hospital about Jones’ condition. He added that Jones was receiving an MRI at the hospital but did not provide any other details beyond that.
Jones had taken a swing pass and started running up the field when he was hit. Jones fumbled on the play and fell forward into a pile of Louisville players. Because the play was taking place near the Louisville sideline, the Louisville coaches immediately came out to help. Virginia receiver Malik Washington picked up a fumble and scored a touchdown, but the attention was already on Jones, as officials from both teams huddled together.
Virginia players, some in tears, fell to their knees as they watched in stunned silence. Jones lives with fellow running back Mike Hollins, who survived a shooting that killed three of his teammates last November. The one-year anniversary of the deaths of Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry is Monday.
Eventually Jones was placed in a wheelchair, unable to walk at all. Hollins was among the closest players to the cart before it left. On the white tape Hollins wore on the back of his arms was Perry’s number 41.
Jones will remain at the UofL hospital overnight for observation, per the team.
Previously, Harry Lyles Jr. of ESPN reported on the game’s broadcast that Virginia athletic director Carla Williams greeted Jones near the stadium tunnel and patted him on the arm before he was loaded into an ambulance.
“It’s the harsh reality of the game we play,” Elliott said. “All games can end like that. for my full recovery. I’m putting that in the Lord’s hands and I’m asking for that in advance, and I believe it will be.”
A fumble recovery on the play in which Jones was injured gave Virginia a 21-14 lead, but Louisville rallied in the fourth quarter to win 31-24 – the fifth game this season the Cavaliers have lost by a touchdown or less.
“No one wants to see it, and it’s hard to come back, but I believe the guys responded,” Elliott said. “We didn’t make a few plays at the end that we needed to make.”