Gator linebacker A.J. Jones cleared, ready to return
Six months after he suffered a season-ending knee injury just prior to Florida's SEC Championship game, Middleton alum A.J. Jones has been cleared to return to all football-related activities and said he can hardly wait for fall practice to begin.
"I’m good,' Jones told me. "I’m full go. I just saw the doctor for the last time today and he cleared me. I tore two ligaments in my knee – my MCL and ACL. I got hurt in December, so it’s been about six months.''
Jones knows the struggle of battling back from an injury all too well. He suffered another season ending injury when he broke his ankle during preseason practice in 2006. It was his freshman year. The most recent injury was much tougher, he said.
"The first injury kind of caught me off-guard,'' Jones said. "I’d never been injured before and I didn’t really know how to cope with it. But I really hadn’t done anything for the program as far as actually being on the field, so it didn’t really hurt the team that much or me, but I didn’t know how to cope with it. I didn’t have too many people around me. But after this last injury, I had a lot of support and it gave me motivation to want to come back harder. I know I’m working for something now, I’m a part of this team and that’s my real motivation. You want to be accountable, you don’t want to let your teammates down.''
Jones said he's as healthy as he's been in a long time - and is in great physical condition.
"I’m pretty much solid where I’m at,' he said. "I’m 227, solid. I could put a few extra pounds on, but coach wants me to really focus on getting back my speed.''