Iowa coach expresses doubt over Ava Jones’ basketball future

Nickerson Lady Panther #35 Ava Jones shoots a free throw attempt.  The Nickerson Lady Panthers...
Nickerson Lady Panther #35 Ava Jones shoots a free throw attempt. The Nickerson Lady Panthers traveled to face the Larned Lady Indians in a Central Kansas League matchup held at Marvin Webster Court inside Larned Middle School in Larned, Kansas on January 7, 2020. (Photo: Joey Bahr, (KWCH)
Published: Oct. 7, 2022 at 11:36 AM EDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - In a story published in The Gazette, a newspaper in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, University of Iowa women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder said it was doubtful Nickerson’s Ava Jones plays basketball again. Ava was critically injured after being struck by a vehicle while walking this summer in Louisville.

The story said the ACL, PCL, MCL and LCL in both of Ava’s knees are torn.

“I can’t believe she was walking,” the Gazette quoted Bluder as telling the university’s Presidential Committee on Athletics on Thursday. “The doctor said, ‘I’ve never seen a person come in here with four torn ligaments in a knee and not be crying.’”

Ava and her mother, Amy, were critically injured in the July 5 crash that killed Ava’s father, Trey. Her younger brother sustained minor injuries. Michael Hurley, the driver who hit the Jones family, has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and assault. Hurley admitted to authorities that he had just taken hydrocodone and was too tired to make a turn.

Ava and Amy didn’t begin breathing on their own for more than a week. They were transferred to intensive care on July 20 and were discharged from the hospital in Louisville in mid-August. The family was in Louisville for Ava’s basketball tournament.

Ava began her senior year at Nickerson this week. She plans to attend a couple days a week because she’s still in therapy.

Bluder previously said that it would honor Ava’s scholarship whether she plays again or not. As a junior, Ava led Nickerson to the Class 3A tournament, averaging better than 20 points per game.

“She’s still somebody that we are going to have as a part of our program because we believe in her,” Bluder said, according to the Gazette. “She committed to us, and just because she had something bad happen to her doesn’t mean that we turn our back on her. We’ll be there for her and her family as much as we can.”

With Ava and Amy Jones continuing with their recoveries and adjusting to life back home, family and friends set up a GoFundMe page to help the them with expenses.