He's nicknamed Airplane Mode for a reason, and he's an extraordinary and youthful leaper at that.
Trail Blazers forward Derrick Jones Jr., who left the Blazers and Nuggets final preseason game in the second half of Friday night’s contest with a back contusion following a monster dunk, says he’s “good, just a little sore.”
Jones Jr. spoke with the media following Sunday’s practice, while mentioning that “the main focus [of practice] was tightening up defense, which we did.”
But what about his back?
It turns out after suffering a back contusion just two days prior, it didn’t really faze DJJ.
The 23-year-old said he didn’t really have any ill effects in practice Sunday and he was "able to do everything.”
The Blazers found themselves in a 82-48 deficit when Jones Jr. went up for the alley oop dunk with 10:36 to go in the third quarter.
Rodney Hood found Jones Jr. on his way to the rim.
After he threw down the jam and fell hard on the floor on his back, he headed back to the locker room and did not return to the game.
Sunday, he explained exactly what happened on the play when he could feel the defender, Nuggets guard Monte Morris, clip his legs as he came down.
“When I went up for the lob, I just caught it and once the ball touched my hand, I just felt somebody on my legs,” Jones Jr. said. “And I know it wasn’t intentional. Me and [Monte] know each other very well, so it wasn’t intentional, it was just one of those things where he was trying to get out of the way, but ended up kind of clipping me a little bit.”
Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts also mentioned Sunday that not only did Jones Jr. go through practice, but so did Anfernee Simons.
Simons had missed the final three preseason games after suffering a hamstring injury in Portland’s first exhibition game against the Kings.
Minor injuries to young players means it sounds like Simons will join Jones Jr. and be ready to go for the start of the regular season.