The 6-foot-8, 250-pound Stokes went up for a two-handed breakaway dunk and said he was shocked when the breakaway rim gave way and he went crashing to the floor.
"I had intentions to try and break it," Stokes said before heading to a local hospital to get stitches on his left hand. "But I didn't think I'd be able to do it."
The court where Stokes broke the backboard was shut down for three hours after his dunk, but the tournament is bringing in a replacement basket for games later on Thursday.
Stokes had the pinkie finger on his left hand bandaged as he left the Cashman Center, but told ESPN he intended to play on Friday.
"I didn't even know what happened until I was on the floor," he added.