Virginia RB Perris Jones still in ICU after spinal surgery following scary hit in loss to Louisville

Perris Jones was carted off the field after taking a scary helmet-to-helmet hit against Louisville on Thursday

Perris Jones was carted off the field after taking a scary helmet-to-helmet hit against Louisville on Thursday. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images) (Andy Lyons via Getty Images)

Virginia running back Perris Jones is still in the intensive care unit at a Louisville hospital after he underwent spinal cord surgery following a helmet-to-helmet hit in their game against the Cardinals last week.

of the Cavaliers’ loss to No. 11 Louisville last Thursday and was hit hard by Cam’Ron Kelly. Jones’ head moved back hard after the helmet-to-helmet hit, and he stayed down on the field for several minutes. Eventually Jones was placed on a backboard and driven off the field in what was a very scary scene at Cardinal Stadium.

Jones was taken to a local hospital after the hit, and he had “regained movement” in his extremities. Then on Saturday, he underwent spinal surgery. That surgery, head coach Tony Elliott said Tuesday, requires a weeklong stay in the ICU.

Elliott said doctors were hopeful that Jones would move to a rehab institute in Louisville on Friday, though he’s expected to remain there for several weeks before he’s allowed to head home and return to Virginia. An assistant athletic trainer with the football team has stayed with Jones in Kentucky.

Elliott said he and the Cavaliers coaching staff got to speak with Jones in a Zoom call on Monday.

“It was good to see his face,” Elliott said, . “He was smiling, he was happy, telling us to tell the guys keep fighting.”

Jones, a senior, has 393 yards and two touchdowns on 76 carries this season. He had a career-high 134 rushing yards against William and Mary earlier this season, and had seven yards on three carries against Louisville when he went down.

The Cavaliers are just 2-8 this season, and fell to Louisville 31-24 last Thursday. Virginia will host Duke on Saturday afternoon before ending its season against Virginia Tech next week.

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