By Jeff White (email@example.com)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Members of the University of Virginia football team went to bed Sunday night knowing Monday would be a trying day and yet another test for a program that’s faced more than its share of adversity over the past year.
The Cavaliers made it through the first anniversary of the shooting that took the lives of Lavel Davis Jr., Devin Chandler and D’Sean Perry, but “it was hard, I think, for everybody,” junior offensive lineman Ty Furnish said Tuesday. “You felt it when you woke up. You felt it coming out [to practice]. You felt it the entire day. It’s just this dark cloud over you.”
As if that tragedy wouldn’t be enough for any team to endure, the Wahoos saw one of their leaders, tailback Perris Jones, suffer a serious injury last Thursday night in Louisville, Ky. Jones, after catching a pass, went down in a violent collision and was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital.
Jones, a sixth-year senior, underwent successful spinal surgery Friday at the University of Louisville Medical Center, where he remains in the intensive care unit.
During his weekly press conference at John Paul Jones Arena, Virginia head coach Tony Elliott provided an update on Jones. The plan is for Jones to be transferred, after a week in the ICU, to the Frazier Rehabilitation Institute in Louisville, Elliott said. Jones will probably stay there for several weeks of rehab before being cleared to return to Virginia.
“We’re optimistic and hopeful, but it’s a long road ahead for Perris,” Elliott said.
The Cavaliers’ coaches were able to speak to Jones on a Zoom call Monday, Elliott said. “It was good to see his face. Man, he was smiling. He was happy, focused on his team, telling the guys to keep fighting.”
Ashley Doozan Murray, an assistant athletic trainer at UVA, has been in Louisville with Jones since he was admitted to the hospital. Jones’ family did not attend the game Thursday but traveled to Louisville after learning of his injury.
“You can tell it’s a family of faith, and their faith is being tested,” Elliott said, “but they’re passing the test, because they’re standing strong and encouraging me [with] just how strong they’ve been during this time.”
The sight of Jones lying motionless on the field at L&N Stadium shook his teammates, but they know such injuries occur periodically in football.
“It could happen on any play to anyone,” Furnish…