On a day that meant little for the Miami Heat’s playoff position, the team might have lost a rotation player to a significant injury.
Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. exited Friday’s game against the Indiana Pacers on a stretcher after running into a moving screen from big man Goga Bitadze. Jones stayed down for several minutes with an apparent neck injury.
Derrick Jones Jr. exits with neck injury
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 eventually given a neck brace and carried out by medical personnel on a stretcher.
Heat‘s Derrick Jones Jr being put on a stretcher here at the Miami-Indiana game. Hit the court hard and was holding his neck after. Has been down for several minutes. pic.twitter.com/nRoXVYLJHN— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) August 14, 2020
The Heat later announced that Jones had suffered a neck strain after undergoing an MRI, CT scan and concussion test. Jones will be re-evaluated over the weekend, days before the team is set to face the Pacers in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
INJURY UPDATE: After an MRI, CT scan and concussion test, the HEAT announce that Derrick Jones, Jr. has suffered a Neck Strain.— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) August 15, 2020
Jones, Jr. will be re-evaluated again over the weekend.
Jones had experienced the biggest moment of his professional career earlier this year with his controversial win in the 2020 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, besting Aaron Gordon in an overtime duel for the title. With the Heat, Jones was averaging 8.6 points and 4.0 rebounds per game entering Friday, ranking eighth among players currently on the team in minutes per game with 23.4.
The 44-29 Heat were already locked into facing the 45-28 Pacers in the first round, though Friday’s win gave the Pacers the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference and home-court advantage. Of course, home court is essentially meaningless in the NBA bubble, so staying healthy was the bigger priority.
Game 1 is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
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