It was hard for Arthur Jones not to think the worst.
His family had endured so many significant medical issues, from his sister, Carmen, dying of brain cancer before her 18th birthday to his mother, Camille, losing her sight from diabetes, to his father, Arthur Jr., needing open-heart surgery.
Jones wasn’t sure what was wrong with him. All he knew was that his heart was racing and doctors couldn’t immediately tell him why. The Ravens’ starting defensive tackle had just made two tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage, in a preseason loss to the Carolina Panthers at M&T; Bank Stadium. At that moment, he wondered if that would be his last game.
“My heart was kind of racing and I just didn’t know why it wasn’t settling down after the game,” Jones said in his first public comments since being sidelined for more than three weeks. “It was definitely scary with the medical conditions in my family. I’m just blessed to be able to play another down and to be back out here with my teammates. I couldn’t do anything for a while but it feels good to be back out here and give it everything I got.”
Jones, the fourth-year player who had a breakout 2012 season with 47 tackles and 4 1/2 sacks, still isn’t sure what caused his health scare. But he has seen several doctors and gotten multiple opinions and he’s confident that the issues are behind him.
“It was never a virus. They actually ruled it out and it wasn’t a heart attack. They actually didn’t know what it was. ... The rhythm of my heart wasn’t beating correctly,” said Jones, who said that he felt like a “lab rat” for a couple of weeks as doctors tried to determine what was wrong with him. “They were just trying to make sure everything was right before they threw me back on the field. They ran a bunch of tests and I got a few second opinions and I feel great.”
Jones practiced for a second straight day though his status for Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns is unknown. It’s more of a conditioning issue than a health one as Jones missed several weeks of practice and is still working his way back into game shape.
He admitted the timing of his injury was frustrating because he was in the midst of arguably the best preseason of his career. But after a couple of weeks of stress and uncertainty, Jones is just happy to be back on the field again.
“I feel like I was close to having another awesome year,” Jones said. “It’s definitely frustrating but it’s a minor setback. I’m very confident. I don’t feel that far out of shape. The last three or four days, I’ve been pushing it pretty hard trying to get myself ready to play whenever that is. I’m controlling the controllable. That’s all I can do.”