Storyline: Jonathan Isaac Injury

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Jonathan Isaac’s return to game action is imminent. Coach Frank Vogel said Isaac will practice with the Magic’s G-League affiliate in Lakeland on Thursday and then play for Lakeland when it hosts the Maine Red Claws on Friday night at the RP Funding Center. “I feel good,” Isaac said after Orlando’s practice Wednesday afternoon. “I definitely understand why they want me to spend some time there [with Lakeland]. I’m just focused on getting back up here [with Orlando] as fast as possible and getting back around these guys.”

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Jonathan Isaac likely will have a minutes restriction during his stint with Lakeland. “My goal in the games I do play in, if it is more than one or just one, is to win those games,” Isaac said. “Like I said before, those guys down there have been working really hard on what they want to do and where they want to get to. And I’m not going down there to steal the show or try to take every shot. I just want to play hard and play great basketball and get a win.”

Jonathan Isaac, 20, severely sprained his ankle on Nov. 11 when he landed on the foot of a player whose shot he had just swatted. He’s played only sparingly since then but is hopeful that he will be back on the floor for the Magic following the break for the NBA All-Star Game. Until then, Isaac said he’s completely comfortable watching others in his draft class shine because he knows his moments will eventually come. “Everybody’s time is different, and everybody has a different journey to greatness and has a different road,’’ Isaac said. “So, it’s just about being happy for guys when their numbers are called and when their time is now. My time will be later.’’

Isaac, a deeply religious person who often speaks openly about his faith, said the time away from games has been good for his brain and body. Through vigorous work in the weight room with Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Bill Burgos, he’s added 11 pounds to bulk up to 222 pounds. And rather than allow the time away to bother him mentally, Isaac said it’s been a good refresher that stoked his hunger for basketball. “I feel like it’s been a blessing being out and being able to slow down,’’ said Isaac, who recently gave a sermon about his faith at a local Orlando church. “Being a rookie, you take so much onto you when you’re playing so much, and you are trying to handle life outside of basketball. But being able to slow down and really focus on my life outside of basketball and my body … has been great.’’

When Orlando Magic rookie Jonathan Isaac makes his long-awaited return, he might play first for the Magic’s G-League affiliate in Lakeland. Isaac hasn’t played since Dec. 26 because his right ankle never fully healed from a sprain he suffered Nov. 11. “It’s going to be predicated on the practices that we have coming out of the break, how he looks, how he feels, how his conditioning is,” coach Frank Vogel said. “There’s a possibility that he plays in the G-League for a couple of games to help get his games under him.”

The Orlando Magic rookie suffered the injury during a loss Monday afternoon to the Dallas Mavericks when he elevated toward the rim, collided with two defenders and landed awkwardly. Isaac remained in the game for 40 more seconds but sat out the second half. A team spokesman said an MRI was performed after the game and said the exam revealed no structural damage other than a strain. Isaac will not play in the Magic’s final two exhibition games Wednesday and Thursday for precautionary reasons.
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