It was the kind of play that happens countless times a game: Miami’s Derrick Jones Jr. was trying to chase Doug McDermott over an off-ball (and moving) screen when collided with pick-setting 6’11” center Goga Bitadze.
This ended up being no standard collision — Jones’ head and neck whipped back, and he instantly went to the ground.
Derrick Jones Jr has been down for several minutes and holding his neck after taking hard screen by Goga Bitadze pic.twitter.com/4pSTTVaaQq
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) August 14, 2020
Jones was grabbing his neck at first and was on the ground for about 10 minutes — in the eerie silence of a fanless bubble arena in Orlando — before being taken off the court on a stretcher.
The good news is Jones has just suffered a neck strain, the team announced. There is no timeline for his return, but this could have been much worse.
INJURY UPDATE: 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.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) August 15, 2020
The Heat and the Pacers, who already have tension between them thanks to a beef between Jimmy Butler and T.J. Warren, will face each other in the first round of the playoffs starting Monday.
Jones, who tested positive for the coronavirus before coming to Orlando (and was quarantined), will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. He has been making the NBA minimum since coming into the league and was in line for a life-changing payday this summer after playing strong defense while averaging 8.6 points per game — and some spectacular dunks — in nearly 23 minutes a night for Miami. Our thoughts are with him after this incident.