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Heart ailment ends career of Creighton guard Josh Jones

Dec 27, 2012, 10:38 AM EDT

josh jones greg mcdermott AP

After passing out shortly before Creighton’s game at Nebraska on December 6, senior guard Josh Jones underwent a surgical procedure in an attempt to rectify the heart ailment that first became an issue in 2007 when he played at Omaha Central High School.

Doctors determined that Jones’ passing out in Lincoln was triggered by an atrial flutter, but more tests revealed a more serious issue. As a result, Jones’ on-court time as a Bluejay has come to an end.

The nine-hour procedure that Jones underwent on December 18, a radiofrequency ablation, is a non-surgical procedure used in an attempt to address certain types of rapid heart beating with atrial flutter being one of those.

Jones will undergo another such procedure next month according to the Omaha World-Herald, and there’s a chance that his situation may require another open-heart procedure (Jones underwent one in 2007) or even the implanting of a defibrillator.

“Today I would like to announce my early retirement 4rm my collegiate athletic career, and potentially further basketball aspirations,” Jones announced via Twitter on Wednesday. “I’m may not have my career at bball anymore, but I do have my career in a healthy life and other successful opportunities. Thanks for support.

“After being so strong having to be away from the game.. I shed a tear of bitter sweetness about the feelings as I walk away from the game.”

Is it sad that Jones’ career has been derailed by a heart ailment? Definitely, but as NBC Sports’ Rob Dauster pointed out in August when Tulsa’s Kodi Maduka had to make a similar decision this should be seen as a joyous event.

Creighton loses a valuable reserve in Jones, as he was averaging 7.0 points per game in just under 20 minutes of action before the health scare in Lincoln, but his impact on the program has been about more than basketball.

And that’s something Jones will be able to look back on with pride as he moves forward with life after basketball.

“When I look back on it now, I know what I want my legacy to be,” Jones said. “It’s about how a young kid from north Omaha who grew up with nothing but a dream and faced every adversity possible stayed focused and became successful.

“If I can do that, it would mean more to me than any basket I ever scored.”

It’s unfortunate that Jones’ career has been cut short, but when it comes to heart issues things could have been far worse. Best wishes to Josh, and hopefully doctors will be able to rectify the issue once and for all in the coming months.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.