By ROBERT STEWART
Tiger Rag Assistant Editor
Former LSU linebacker Tahj Jones was released from a hospital Wednesday, 12 days after he was shot in the abdomen during an alleged argument, his trainer said.
Jones was shot the night of April 11 in his hometown of Sulphur, allegedly by former LSU offensive tackle Brandon Winey, during an argument over a woman at the Town and Country Apartments on South Beglis Parkway, Sulphur police have said.
Jones, 24, was taken to the Rapides Regional Medical Center in Alexandria in serious condition and underwent surgery to have the bullet removed.
Mack Chuilli, head of the Traction Center for Sports Excellence in Baton Rouge, an athletic training facility where Jones had been working out, said Jones had healed enough that doctors decided to release him Wednesday.
Family members initially thought Jones would be let go Wednesday afternoon, but doctors finally released him sometime Wednesday evening."They’re ecstatic,” Chuilli said of Jones’ family. "All they’re saying is how great God is.”
Chuilli said he was able to speak to Jones Wednesday. He said Jones seemed like his old self.
"He seemed just like Tahj. He seemed good,” Chuilli said.
Chuilli said Jones is now able to eat and drink food on his own after being put on a feeding tube during his time at the hospital.
Jones will have to undergo some sort of physical therapy, as well as eventually have 46 staples from his stomach removed, Chuilli said. Doctors will meet with him later to finalize any therapy plans.
"He’s ready to be home and continue his recovery,” Chuilli said.
The bullet hit Jones in his abdomen on his left side, just below his rib cage, Chuilli has said. The bullet, which has been removed, also appeared to have traveled far enough to damage his intestines and hit his pelvic bone.
Doctors considered placing a metal plate in Jones’ hip, which would have affected his recovery time, but determined the plate was unnecessary.
Jones, a 6-foot-2, 205-pounder, played his last season at LSU in 2013 and participated in LSU’s Pro Day on April 9.
A two-time all-state selection at Sulphur High School, Jones redshirted his freshman season at LSU in 2009 and saw limited action in 2010 and 2011. He was expected to compete for a starting position as a junior in 2012 but played only one game because of academic eligibility issues.
Chuilli has said the St. Louis Rams, who had been interested in Jones as possibly an undrafted free agent, have been in touch with Jones’ camp to monitor his status.
Winey, 36, was arrested in his hometown of Lake Charles after driving away from the scene, police have said. He was booked into the Sulphur City Jail on a count of attempted second-degree murder and given a $1 million bond.
Winey played his last season at LSU in 2000 and was drafted in 2001 by the Miami Dolphins but played only three seasons in the NFL.