Miami Heat's Derrick Jones Jr. Hopeful To Return For First Round

Shandel Richardson

A day after being wheeled off the court, Miami Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. said he is hopeful of being ready for the start of the postseason. 

Jones left the game with a neck strain but spoke with reporters Saturday about the incident. 

"I was in a lot of pain," Jones said. "I could feel my hands, my feet, everything. I knew nothing was really bad. They just wanted to take precaution ... I'm glad they did."

Jones sustained the injury in third quarter of a 109-92 loss Friday to the Indiana Pacers in a meaningless game. It occurred when he was hit in the neck and shoulder while trying to get by a screen. Hours after the game, the Heat released a statement that said "after an MRI, CT scan and concussion test, the Heat announce that Derrick Jones Jr. has suffered a neck strain. Jones, Jr. will be re-evaluated again over the weekend."

Jones said his status is day-to-day

"Just a little sore," Jones said. "I'm a lot better." 

Jones, who won this year's slam dunk contest during NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago in February, is among the Heat's latest developmental turned rotation player. He is averaging 8.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 59 games. Two seasons ago, Jones was signed to a two-way contract before earning a standard deal.

The Heat, who finished 44-29, are the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. They open the postseason Tuesday against the No. 4 Pacers. 

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