Heat's Derrick Jones Jr. sore but better after scary collision

Miami Heat swingman Derrick Jones Jr. said he's feeling better after having to be taken off the floor on a stretcher during Friday's 109-92 loss to the Indiana Pacers.

"Good," Jones said during a video call with reporters, when asked how he was feeling after Saturday's practice. "Just a little sore, but all in all, I'm doing a lot better."

The Heat announced via Twitter on Friday night that Jones was diagnosed with a neck strain after having an MRI and a CT scan and being checked for a concussion. Jones seemed upbeat on Saturday and was hopeful he would be able to participate during the Heat's upcoming playoff series against the Pacers.

"I was in a lot of pain but I could move my hands, my leg, my feet, everything, so I knew nothing was really bad," Jones said. "They just wanted to take extra precaution and just make sure nothing was fractured or anything. I'm glad they did."

Jones was injured after colliding with Pacers big man Goga Bitadze towards the end of the third quarter.

"They were setting a double [screen] for Doug McDermott," Jones said. "I seen the first screen and got around it but the second screen, I didn't see him. He just came out of nowhere. I hit him and that's all that happened."

After initial concern about the injury, Heat teammates and coaches were happy to see Jones moving around again. Veteran Heat guard Goran Dragic called Jones' return "the news of the day for everybody."

"Let's take it one day at a time, but certainly seeing him on his own two feet and joking and smiling and walking around today was very uplifting," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "I was able to actually meet him in the lobby last night when he was coming back from getting checked out by the doctors, and I was relieved seeing him there. All of us, when it happened and you see one of your guys being carried out in a stretcher, that's just a horrible, awful feeling. But thank goodness he has what he has today which is he's sore, but we can eventually manage with that."

Heat All-Star big man Bam Adebayo, who did not play in Friday's game, described why he went off the floor to check on his close friend and teammate.

"That's my brother," Adebayo said. "It's a thin line between who you can trust and who you can like wave at and be cool with, and he's one of those dudes in my small circle. His family is my family. His son's my godson so we've developed like an actual brotherhood -- blood couldn't make us any closer. So it concerns me a lot when I see my brother go down like that, after a couple seconds he doesn't bounce back like he usually does.

"So at that point, I'm worried, his family's worried, so I'm kind of like the glue that was between them before he could actually tell everybody that he was OK. As soon as everybody seen me run after him, his family started calling my phone. And it's hard to tell 'em that he's going to be OK and they're not here. But we've developed this great brothership -- he's my man 100 grand and I'm glad to see he's OK."

Game 1 of the Heat's Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Pacers starts Tuesday afternoon.