After spending more than a month at the MD Anderson Medical Center in Houston receiving treatment for leukemia, Texas Longhorns sophomore guard Andrew Jones was released from the hospital on Saturday:
On Monday, the school released a statement from Jones.
“I was released from MD Anderson Cancer Center on Saturday night (Feb. 24) around 5 p.m. and have started receiving treatments on an outpatient basis,” Jones said. “That was a great night and a big step for me and my family.
“My doctors tell me I am continuing to show improvement, and that is really encouraging.
“My family and I will remain in Houston for this next stage of my recovery. As we’ve said before, I’m really thankful for all the love and support that has been shown to me and to my family. It has truly been overwhelming. I hope you’ll continue to keep me in your daily thoughts and prayers. Together, we WILL win this fight.”
The news represented the latest positive development for Jones, whose diagnosis was made public on January 10. In recent weeks, Jones has been up and moving around, shooting baskets, dribbling, and dancing while brushing his teeth.
“There’s been a lot of days in the month of January where I just didn’t feel good, couldn’t move and stuff like that,” Jones said in his first interview since his diagnosis. “But as soon as I started feeling better about myself, I was just in a great place. And I’ve been in a great place lately these last couple of weeks.
“I just wanted to show that I’m not just in the hospital doing bad. I wanted to show people the improvements I’ve been making and that everything’s going to be good, and I’m going to be back soon.”
Head coach Shaka Smart visited Jones following the Oklahoma game and came away heartened by his attitude.
“The positive is he’s doing better and better,” Smart said last Monday. “Everyone is excited about that. When you talk to him or see him or see videos of him and he has a smile on his face and has a twinkle in his eye of excitement, that’s so uplifting and exciting just compared to where he was a few weeks ago or a month ago. I was able to see him yesterday and his spirit is really, really good, and it reminds you of the fact that he’s always been a guy that’s been a fighter and has a toughness about him. He’s taken this phenomenal approach.”
At the time, Smart was hopeful that Jones would be able to eventually continue his treatment on an out-patient basis, but thought it was unlikely that Jones would be able to make an appearance at a home game. The final regular-season contest at the Erwin Center is next Saturday against West Virginia.
With the steady improvement by Jones, the question of whether he’ll be able to return to basketball seems like an increasingly relevant query. In fact, the topic was broached for the first time at last week’s press conference.
“That would be awesome,” Smart said when asked about the possibility of Jones returning. “I hope so. I just don’t know any details about how that works and obviously the number one concern is him beating this terrible disease and beating it for good, and it never coming back.
“Then, I don’t know how it works with how long you have to be free of it to be able to do the things that are demanded of you as an athlete at this level. I have no idea. I don’t think it’s something that anyone can put a timetable on. I know in his mind, and this is one of the things that’s a motivator for him, he’s sure not done playing the game of basketball.”
Jones has publicly echoed that sentiment previously.
I’ll be back sooner than you think fam https://t.co/WCixgLeMKy— Andrew Jones (@DrewdotCash) February 16, 2018
“I’m going to have a more motivated mindset,” he said. “I’m going to be more dedicated. I’m just going to be grateful that I can get back to playing the sport that I love. And I’m going to go hard every day. Tomorrow is never promised, so that’s how I’m going to attack each day, each workout that I go to.”