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Nuggets 'Average Joes' dancer returns to the court after being partially paralyzed by West Nile

When we last met with Jonathan Maness, he couldn't walk on his own. Now, he's back at Ball Arena with his second family- The Average Joes.
Posted at 9:00 PM, Apr 27, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-29 08:06:53-04

DENVER - When Denver7 spoke with Jonathan Maness last October, it was a few months after a mosquito bite had sent him to the emergency room. The effects of West Nile left him paralyzed for weeks.

"I think the first two months, everybody asked me, 'How's recovery going?' There was no progress," Maness said of the physical therapy efforts to regain his ability to walk.

Back then, he was counting down the days until he could return to his normal, active lifestyle. Now, he's counting steps, back in the dance studio with his second family, The Nuggets Dance Team, The Average Joes.

"It's great. These guys were amazing. They're like a family. They really are," said Maness of his first time back dancing with the guys. "My knee buckled when I first went out there and I had to go back to using a cane again. But you know, they cheered me on."

The Average Joes were launched in 2019 with help from Kroenke Dance Teams Manager Amy Jo Johnston. Maness was one of the first members.

"When we heard that his first concern was 'Wait, I have Average Joe's auditions next week, I can't be in the hospital.' All of us just like realize just how important we are to each other," said Johnston. "That really kind of propelled him through the physical therapy and relearning to walk. It wasn't just relearning to walk that was at the top of his mind, it was like no, I got to relearn to dance."


Local News

Nuggets dancer shares West Nile survival story, urges others to be aware

Danielle Kreutter
5:10 PM, Oct 11, 2023

Dancing is definitely harder than it used to be.

"Right now this left leg is half the size of the right leg, my calf is not strong, my hamstring's not strong. My hips are not strong enough to run or jump," said Maness.

But it doesn't stop him from busting a move, most recently at the Nuggets first playoff game.

"Find yourself a good group of people to be around, that will always perk you up when you're challenged when you're going through a rough time. That's that's definitely a thing that helped me out," said Maness.

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