Jones: Neck hurt before hard hit

12/18/2008 - NFL Pacman Jones Dallas Cowboys + more

IRVING, Texas -- Adam "Pacman" Jones says the herniated disk in his neck that forced him to miss the Dallas Cowboys' last game was bothering him even before he took a hard hit.

"I had been complaining about my neck. It could be a possibility that I already had that," the cornerback said Thursday.

Jones was injured in the first quarter two Sundays ago at Pittsburgh in his first game after a six-week suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy. He finished that game, but tests showed a herniated disk and there was talk of shutting him down for the season.

"It was always a chance the swelling would go down," Jones said. "I'm more happy than surprised."

The short conversation at his locker made for Jones' first public comments since before the alcohol-related scuffle with one of his bodyguards Oct. 7 that led to his suspension. But he spoke only about his injury and his quick return from it.

After not playing Sunday night against the New York Giants, Jones returned to practice this week after doctors re-evaluated his condition. He is expected to start at cornerback and return kicks Saturday night against the Baltimore Ravens.

There were initially concerns that the injury could be career-threatening.

"Any time someone tells you that, you're going to be afraid. Thank god it's not," he said. "I've never taken this game for granted. It could be over in a quick second. That's how it is, man. I've got to take advantage of the time I have now."