Virginia running back Perris Jones underwent spinal surgery at the University of Louisville Medical Center on Friday, one day after he was hurt in the Cavaliers’ 31-24 loss to the Cardinals.
In a statement posted to X, the University of Virginia said the surgery was successful and that Jones was able to briefly walk on Saturday morning.
The school said Jones remains under observation and will be transferred to the Frazier Rehabilitation Institute in Louisville for further care when his medical team deems appropriate. A Virginia official had previously announced that Jones had movement in all his extremities.
Jones, a senior from Alexandria, Virginia, was injured after catching a pass late in the third quarter on Thursday night. He fumbled on the play and fell forward in a pile of multiple Louisville players. Because the play happened near the Louisville sideline, trainers immediately ran out to help. Cavaliers wide receiver Malik Washington picked up the fumble and scored a touchdown.
Virginia players, some in tears, took a knee as they watched on in stunned silence. Jones is roommates with fellow running back Mike Hollins, who survived a shooting that killed three of their teammates last November. The one-year anniversary of the deaths of Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry is Monday.
Jones was eventually placed on a cart, completely immobilized. Hollins, who has Perry’s No. 41 on the white tape he wears on the back of his arms, was among the players to get closest to the cart before it drove off.
“It’s a very, very difficult reality of the sport that we play, that every play can end that way, and you don’t wish that for anybody,” Virginia coach Tony Elliott said after the game. “Man, I know one thing: [Perris Jones] is a tough young man and he lays it on the line every time he goes out there for this football team. [We’re] believing and praying that he’s going to have a full recovery. I’m putting that in the Lord’s hands and I’m asking for that in advance and believing that that’s going to be the case.”
ESPN’s Andrea Adelson contributed to this report.