(STATS) - All-SWAC senior defensive end Javancy Jones has returned from a personal leave of absence and will play in Jackson State's season opener at UNLV Thursday night.
Jones, a preseason nominee for STATS FCS Defensive Player of the Year, left preseason camp earlier this month to be with his mother, who reportedly has battled Nueromyelitis optica, or Devic's disease, which strikes the optic nerves and spinal cord and has caused her to become paralyzed this summer.
First-year Jackson State coach Tony Hughes said Jones returned to practice on Monday.
"I know he loves football, he has great passion for it," Hughes said, "but I made a statement earlier that we have 11 regular-season games this year, we've got 12 if you make it to the SWAC championship and 13 if we make it to the (Celebration) bowl game. But if all of that goes awry, you only have one mother. Make sure that your mother is taken care of. Football will still be here when you get back."
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Jones totaled 91 tackles, including 24.5 for loss and nine sacks, with five quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles as a junior. He attended the NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum during the offseason.