published Thursday, February 14th, 2013

UTC's Casey Jones set for return to lineup

A little more Cajun flavor is on the menu tonight in McKenzie Arena.

New Orleans native Casey Jones is scheduled to make his return from a broken femur for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in a Southern Conference basketball game against Furman at 7 p.m. in McKenzie Arena.

Jones started the first 11 games of the season at small forward but sustained a fracture near his right kneecap while diving on the floor for a loose ball on Dec. 21 against Reinhardt.

"I've never been injured before and never missed a game in my life, so it's crazy how hard it was," said Jones, who returned to practice last Friday. "I couldn't stop smiling."

He will be reunited on the court -- albeit in brief stints until he gets his conditioning up to par -- with fellow Louisiana native and roommate Gee McGhee, who has averaged 17.3 points in the Mocs' last seven contests.

"They're Batman and Robin," UTC coach John Shulman joked. "Gee is Batman. But if anybody can keep Gee in his place, it's Casey. He tells Gee how it is. Gee is loud and Casey will just bust his tail.

"After this basketball and school thing they'll go on the road and make a lot of money as stand-up comedians. They're perfect together."

Jones averaged 3.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 20.7 minutes per game before getting injured.

"When he went down, I thought it was a deep thigh bruise and was like, 'Get up,' because it looked like he got kneed in the thigh," Shulman said. "Then I thought it was his ACL."

The broken bone sidelined Jones for 14 games and hampered his daily life as he wobbled around campus on crutches and just watched during games and practice sessions.

"It gave me an opportunity to see everything, and it was like watching live film," Jones said. "I watched a lot of film. I'm out of shape, but when I get out there I'll be going 200 percent and get tired in a minute and 30 seconds."

The Louisiana connection immediately bonded McGhee and Jones when they arrived on campus.

"I'm glad he's back," McGhee said. "We've been missing him."

They made a for a good pair of wing players on the court during the early season. And McGhee has continued his candidacy for a spot on SoCon all-freshman team.

"I can't lie, Gee took over on the court and Batman is Gee on the court," Jones said. "But personality wise, I'm Batman because not too many people can keep him in line. He likes the attention, and I sit back in the dark."

He'll be back under the lights tonight.

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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