Texas G Andrew Jones scores first bucket since cancer diagnosis in January

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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/ncaaf/players/253358/" data-ylk="slk:Andrew Jones">Andrew Jones</a> returned to the court Tuesday, less than a year after being diagnosed with leukemia. (Getty)
Andrew Jones returned to the court Tuesday, less than a year after being diagnosed with leukemia. (Getty)

Last season, Texas sophomore guard Andrew Jones received a leukemia diagnosis.

An ailment that hampered Jones for weeks remained a mystery until the difficult news of the cancer diagnosis arrived in January.

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Jones receives standing ovation

On Tuesday, Jones was back on the court for the Longhorns’ season opener. He scored his first point since leaving the team to focus on his health and received a standing ovation from the crowd in a 71-59 win over Eastern Illinois.

Shaka Smart: ‘It just hit me’ he’s back from hospital bed

Jones was the team’s second-leading scorer and an NBA hopeful when he left last season. It took a moment for the home crowd to realize what was happening when he checked into the game from the bench.

“First of all, when he checked in, I guess it just hit me and probably hit a lot of people in the building that this guy was laying in the hospital bed a matter of months ago,” head coach Shaka Smart told reporters. “Now, he’s out there in a Texas uniform.”

Jones is still recovering physically with no official diagnosis as to when he’s expected to return to full strength. But just being on the basketball court is a world of difference from where things stood just months ago.

Jones was ready to return when he dunked

Jones talked with reporters last week about his recovery.

“I never knew if I would dunk again,” Jones said. “When I was finally able to flush a dunk easy, I thought, ‘OK, maybe I’ll be able to make a stronger comeback.'”

Jones was initially told he would be in a two-year program to fight back the disease, but a program at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston is expected to cut that time in half.

He completed a round of outpatient treatment in August, and is scheduled for another round in December.

“My biggest thing is never give up. Only the strong survive. If you’re strong-hearted and strong mentally, you can persevere through anything. Every day I look in the mirror, I know I’m improving.”

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