The 35-year-old lock explained his miracle recovery from a shoulder dislocation to return to the fray as the Lions completed their preparation for the Test match. By playing, he will become the first player in the professional era to play 10 Tests for the Lions, having completed a cycle of tours, South Africa (2009), Australia (2013) and New Zealand (2017).
"To be here now means more, I'm not going to lie.
"Being involved in the Test team is everything I have worked for probably over the last four years," he said.
"When you finish a series or a tour, you don't know whether you are going to tour next time, and a lot of games go under the bridge.
"To be sitting here now is a special thing, but it is only a short step to what is going to be hopefully an enjoyable week," he said.
Jones said after suffering his injury he was back at his home, on the sofa before the team had got to the airport to fly to South Africa. He said it had been tough to accept the injury because he had spent the first weeks getting to know the players in the touring squad, but seven minutes into the warm-up game, he thought his tour was over.
But two days later, medical staff back in Wales told him there was a prospective chance he could recover.
"Sometimes, all you need is a chance. I was willing to work hard and get myself right, and make it difficult for Warren [coach Gatland] and be available for selection.
"There were a quick couple of calls to get all the apparatus I needed to start the recovery the next day and make sure I didn't dwell on that situation.
"It was about being pro-active and starting the recovery. That's what I did, and I guess why I'm here," he said.
"It was not just me. There was a lot of help back home. I had a lot of support and a lot of planning was put in place from here [Africa]."
Gatland had announced early in the tour that a return from Jones might be possible. That became a reality when he started training with Wales.
Things had then moved quickly when there was a chance he could be in consideration for the first Test.
"I was fortunate enough to get some game time on Saturday [against the Stormers] and put myself in contention," he said.
Looking at the Test, he said, composure would be important because the series would be an arm wrestle.
"You want to get out of the blocks as much as the opposition, and it is our opportunity to do that at the weekend.
"We set out to come and win a Test series. I think we have a squad here capable of doing just that," he said.