By: Justin Felisko
September 28, 2016
PUEBLO, Colo. – Ben Jones continues to redefine what it exactly means to be Australian tough.
The 37-year-old from Goulburn, Australia, is set to return to action at this weekend’s Wrangler Long Live Cowboys Classic five months after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his left shoulder on April 14.
“I’m ready to take over and do my thing,” Jones said.
Jones dislocated his shoulder and sustained a “massive” rotator cuff injury during a routine 3.71-second buckoff against Swashbuckler in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, when he was hung up and stepped on under his arm.
Jones had three major ligament tears in his left shoulder, as well as a sliced artery that required a trip to a South Dakota hospital that night.
He was 18th in the world standings at the time.
Jones spent the majority of his recovery rehabbing at Fit-N-Wise Sports Medicine in Decatur, Texas.
Jones also got on a practice bull Wednesday afternoon.
“My hairs are still standing up and it was a bit bucky,” Jones said. “It was a cool deal and I’m at 100 percent.”
Jones arrives to Eugene still just 25th in the world standings and has a great chance of qualifying for the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals for a second consecutive year.
Jones leads No. 35 Marco Eguchi by 282.5 points with four Built Ford Tough Series events remaining before the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals on Nov. 2-6 in Las Vegas.
Jones has drawn Stray Cat (0-0, BFTS) for Round 1 and Thunder Cloud (0-0, BFTS) for Round 2.
Coincidentally, Matt Triplett is returning to the BFTS for the first time since he underwent reconstructive surgery on his left shoulder in April. Triplett also sustained injuries in Sioux Falls. The 24-year-old had partially dislocated his left shoulder when he landed on his arm after being thrown from Buckle Up in 6.51 seconds.
Triplett earned a trip to Eugene by winning the BlueDEF Tour event in Memphis, Tennessee, on Tuesday with a 2-for-2 performance. He is 72nd in the world standings and clinched the victory with an 87.5-point ride on Blue Gangster.
Triplett could have used one of his BFTS injury exemptions to compete in Eugene, but has decided to save his exemptions for 2017 for the time being.
Instead, he now gets to take on Gatlin Gun (0-0, BFTS) in Round 1 and Blue Rocket (0-0, BFTS) in Round 2 because of his BlueDEF Tour victory.
He is 327.5 points behind Eguchi.
There are four alternates (No. 36 Nathan Schaper, No. 37 Cody Heffernan, No. 38 Fraser Babbington and No. 39 Brant Atwood) competing in Eugene. No. 3 J.B. Mauney (broken rib), No. 28 Tyler Harr (broken rib), No. 34 Ty Pozzobon (personal decision) and No. 35 Eguchi (undisclosed) are all out for this weekend.
World No. 2 Cooper Davis is returning to competition for the first time since undergoing right clavicle surgery. He takes on Curly Bill (2-0, BFTS) in Round 1 and Crazy Days (11-3, BFTS) in Round 2.
World leader Kaique Pacheco has drawn Cherry Bomb (0-0, BFTS) and Copper Star (5-3, BFTS).
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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