UPDATE: Chad Jones is said to be in good spirits and his injured leg and foot are looking better says his father. Jones is expected to play for the New York Giants this fall. His father also says a long healing process is just beginning, but everything is positive right now. The accident is still under investigation.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Chad Jones, a two-sport star at LSU who was drafted by the New York Giants, underwent surgery for a broken left leg and ankle Friday following a dawn wreck in which his SUV smashed into a pole.
Jones was admitted to the LSU Public Hospital in New Orleans in guarded condition. His agent, Rocky Arceneaux, disclosed the injuries to The Associated Press but could not be more specific about their severity until operation was over and he heard from the doctors. Arceneaux said the 21-year-old player was alert when taken to the hospital.
It was not clear what caused Jones to lose control of his vehicle at about 6 a.m. on a six-lane thoroughfare with a streetcar line on the west side of the city, police spokeswoman Shereese Harper said. Jones was extracted from the SUV, but the two other men riding with him were fine, Harper said. She said it was too early in the investigation to know if Jones was speeding, and police will run toxicology reports to see if alcohol was a factor. Arceneaux said he spoke to the passengers, who said Jones was in the far left lane and turned the wheel abruptly to get his tires off the streetcar tracks grooves. The vehicle then rolled into a pole that carries an overhead electrical wire powering the streetcar line. The concrete base of the pole was cracked and broken. The pole was scuffed but remained standing, and the streetcar line reopened when the site was cleared.
The driver's side of the SUV appeared to have been violently compressed, according to people who saw the wreckage before it was removed. "It was so crushed in," said Liz Lapre, who works across the street from the accident site at store selling recreational gear. "I kept looking at it like, 'Did they make it? Did they survive?"' Bobby Johnson, the store's co-owner, took a photo of the wreckage, unaware at the time the vehicle belonged to Jones. "I took a picture just because you don't see a car every day that bashed up," he said. "The whole driver's side was caved in."
Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon issued a statement from the team late Friday afternoon. "We continue to gather information on Chad'S condition, and obviously our primary concern is for his health and well being," the team said. "Jerry Reese and his staff have maintained contact with Chad'S family throughout the day." Jones, a safety, was drafted in the third round. He was part of the Tigers' 2007 national championship team and also was a left-handed relief pitcher - whose fastball surpassed 90 mph - for the 2009 LSU baseball team that won the 2009 College World Series.
Known affectionately as "Dreadlocks of Doom" by teammates and LSU fans, he was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers weeks after the Giants selected him in the NFL draft. He signed with the Giants last week after taking part in a mandatory minicamp.