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Iowa commit Ava Jones’ hoops future in jeopardy after MRI scans

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(Sandra J. Milburn/The Hutchinson News via USA TODAY NETWORK)

On Wednesday, Iowa women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder received a phone call that upended her world.

Iowa commit Ava Jones, who survived a car crash in July in Louisville, had an MRI scan that revealed more about the seriousness of her injuries, leaving the future of her playing career in serious jeopardy, according to a report from The Gazette.

“I doubt she will ever play basketball again,” Bluder told the newspaper.

The MRI scans revealed that Jones had torn all four major ligaments in both of her knees.

“I can’t believe she was walking,” Bluder told Iowa’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.’”

On July 5, an impaired driver drove onto the sidewalk in downtown Louisville and hit Jones and her family, leaving Ava and both of her parents in critical condition at the UofL Hospital. Her father, Trey, passed away several days following the accident, while her mother, Amy, also suffered serious injuries.

In August, Ava and Amy returned to their home in Kansas to rehabilitate at an outpatient facility in Wichita. Then, in September, the family, along with friends and loved ones, held a memorial service to honor the life of Trey. He was 42 years old.

The family was hit by driver Michael Hurley, 33, who was high on hydrocodone. Hurley was charged with one count of murder, two counts of first-degree aggravated assault, one count of fourth-degree aggravated assault and operating a vehicle while under the influence.

According to Bluder, doctors still are “really working on her brain improvement.”

The Hawkeyes program already has committed to honoring Ava’s scholarship, regardless of whether or not she’s able to step back onto the court again.

“She’s still somebody that we are going to have as a part of our program because we believe in her,” Bluder told 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.”

A GoFundMe page has raised more than $157,000 for the family, with many of the donations coming from Iowa’s loyal fanbase.

“The Hawkeye nation has been amazing helping that family,” Bluder said. “So it’s very appreciated.”

Jones, who starred at Nickerson High School and led the program to its third final four appearance in five years, had initially committed to Arizona State, but following the retirement of coach Charli Turner Thorne, she reopened her recruitment. She later announced her commitment to Iowa. She is listed as the 83rd recruit in the Class of 2023 by ESPN.

Trent Singer is the High School Editor at Just Women’s Sports. Follow him on Twitter @trentsinger.