The curiosity is understandable. Isaac had established himself as one of the league’s best defensive forwards before he injured his left knee on Jan. 1, and he clearly is one of the team’s most critical young players. If fully healthy, he would improve the Magic’s defense in a first-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks (and Giannis Antetokounmpo) or against the Toronto Raptors (and Pascal Siakam). Isaac’s rehabilitation continues to go well, sources said.
More on Jonathan Isaac Injury
When I asked him about the chances of Isaac and Al-Farouq Aminu playing when the season resumes, Weltman answered, “They have not played basketball in a long, long time. So it’s more than just saying, ‘Your knee is strengthened.’ It’s a matter of reconditioning and making sure that we’re not putting any of our players at risk for further injuries. So we’ll see as we go along how we get there. But I’m not prepared to apply any timeline or anything like that at this point. They’ve got a lot of work ahead of them.”
Magic forwards Jonathan Isaac and Al-Farouq Aminu are unlikely to return this season despite the extended layoff, according to Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel. Isaac suffered a knee injury on New Year’s Day and hasn’t played since that game in Washington. Isaac was establishing himself as a defensive force before the severe left knee sprain.
“Not a whole lot of news there,” Weltman said when asked about the possibility of Isaac or Aminu returning. “As always, we’re going to wait and see how they respond to rehab. They’re both working very hard. There’s a difference of being healthy and then being safely healthy. It will have been a long, long time since those guys played and you know organizationally that we’re never going to put our guys in a position where they’re exposed to any sort of risk of injury. So that being said, we’ll just continue to see how they progress.”
It remains unclear whether Isaac will be able to play when the NBA resumes following the coronavirus shutdown, but the forward said he is making progress. He ran on an Alter-G, which reduces weight and pressure on legs while running on a treadmill, and has done squats with increased weight recently without experiencing any knee swelling.
Did Nathan Spencer (the team’s head strength and conditioning coach) drop off some equipment to you right before the practice facility closed? Jonathan Isaac: Yes. They were super-mindful of what was going on and they brought me a bike, they brought me weights. They brought me everything that I need to be able to do my rehab. That’s why it works so well. So I have a little impromptu gym in my living room. Every day I get up and I start knocking out what I’ve got to do for the day. Do the rehab specialists watch you via Zoom or FaceTime as you’re working out, or do they speak to you afterward? Jonathan Isaac: They speak to me afterward always, and they took me through all my exercises the day before (the facility closed). So I know what I have to do. And then if I have any questions, I FaceTime them.
Just the mere sight of promising forward Jonathan Isaac being back with the team and participating in some light shooting drills on Monday had to be glorious vision for the Orlando Magic. The nearly 7-foot Isaac has been out since Jan. 1 when he suffered a posterior lateral corner injury and a medial bone contusion in his left knee early in a Magic victory over the Washington Wizards. Isaac, 22, did not need surgery for the injury, but he was forced to walk on crutches and keep his leg in a cast and later a thigh-to-shin brace for a six-week period – all of which he has since shed. For now, Isaac said he’s just happy to be back around basketball and his teammates.
``(The injured knee) feels good. I’m happy to be off the crutches and it’s good to walk around on my own power. And being able to just come out here and shoot free throws, it feels really good,’’ Isaac said. ``I think (taking the process day by day) is the best way to look at it,’’ he said. ``I just want to put in the work that I need to put in that day and worry about the long-term stuff in the long term. (The Magic medical staff) has got the long-term in their head and I’m just like, `J.I., get better every day and do what they ask me to do.’
``I want to be back right now,’’ he added. ``The goal is that I want to be back right now, so that keeps me pushing and taking care of it day by day. … I’m not completely sure (about playing again this season). I just want to continue to be wise, listen to the coaching staff and what management is thinking and then move accordingly.’’
Orlando Magic president Jeff Weltman has provided an unfortunate update on the status of 22-year-old forward Jonathan Isaac, who is currently dealing with a knee injury. Weltman recently made an appearance on ESPN’s Afternoons with Scott Anez podcast and revealed Isaac isn’t expected back this season: “Yeah, I never want to say a thousand percent, but I think we’re not expecting him back, put it that way,” Weltman responded when asked if he could confirm if Isaac is expected to sit out the remainder of the season. “And if we’re pleasantly surprised then so be it, but the fact of the matter is the longer you’re out you’re gonna get de-conditioned and we don’t ever wanna rush our guys back or put them in a position to get re-injured, god forbid. We’re taking a very cautious approach as we always do.”
Josh Robbins: Reporting from @ShamsCharania: The NBA has denied the Orlando Magic's request for a disabled player exception for Jonathan Isaac, who is recovering from a left knee injury. Orlando previously was granted a DPE for Al-Farouq Aminu. The $4.6 million Aminu DPE can be used on a player with an expiring contract or to sign a player for the remainder of this season.
Shams Charania: The Orlando Magic have applied for two Disabled Player Exceptions — for Jonathan Isaac and Al-Farouq Aminu — with the NBA that would project season-ending losses, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
Bobby Marks: Disabled Player Exceptions in Orlando would be worth: * $4.6M- Al-Farouq Aminu * $2.9M- Jonathan Isaac NBA has to deem that both players are out until June 15. Smart move by the Magic PR in not putting a return date for both players.
Josh Robbins: Jonathan Isaac’s knee injury will be treated non-operatively, a team official said. No surgery.
Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac suffered a hyperextended left knee during Wednesday's 122-101 win at Washington, the team announced. He will undergo an MRI on Thursday in Orlando and then be re-evaluated. After the game, he said he felt he'd avoided a serious knee injury. "I've never hurt my knee before," Isaac said. "So as soon as it happened, I just naturally start thinking the worst. 'Wow man, it's over.' But as I was down there, it started to feel better and better just being down there. So I kind of felt, just the reassurance that I was going to be [OK]."
Roy Parry: Magic F Jonathan Isaac (sprained right ankle) went through practice today and told reporters afterward that he feels "pretty confident" he'll be able to play tomorrow in Toronto but ultimately the decision will be up to the training staff. Isaac has missed the past 2 games.
Josh Robbins: Jonathan Isaac (sprained right ankle) will not play tonight against the Wizards, a Magic official said.
Roy Parry: Steve Clifford told reporters that Jonathan Isaac went through the team's non-contact practice session this morning. How Isaac feels Sunday will determine if he plays Sunday night vs. the Wizards. He missed Friday's game vs. the Spurs with a sprained right ankle.
Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac has cleared the NBA's concussion protocol and will be available to play in the team's playoff opener Saturday in Toronto, the team announced Thursday night. Isaac is believed to have been hurt in Orlando's win Sunday against the Celtics. He was struck in the jaw and experienced concussion-like symptoms after the game, leading the Magic to put him in the protocol.
Josh Robbins: The only significant news from the Magic’s practice today was that Nikola Vucevic said he’s feeling better from the stomach bug that prevented him from playing last night. Also, Steve Clifford would not be specific about Jonathan Isaac’s progess in the NBA concussion protocol.
Josh Robbins: Jonathan Isaac continues to progress in his recovery from a sprained ankle. He said he had a productive on-court workout earlier today in which he tested his ankle with jumping and cutting.
John Denton: Already without F Jonathan Isaac (sprained R ankle), @Orlando Magic could be without F Aaron Gordon (sprained L ankle) tonight vs. @New York Knicks. Gordon suffered the injury in the 3rd Q of Friday’s defeat of WASH. AG gutted his way through that injury, playing 42 min & scoring 20 pts
Josh Robbins: Jonathan Isaac (sprained right ankle) will not play tonight against the Spurs. Jonathon Simmons (bruised right wrist) will be available to play.
John Denton: Here is the @Orlando Magic injury report for Sunday’s game in San Antonio vs. @San Antonio Spurs: Jonathan Isaac -QUESTIONABLE, sprained right ankle; Jonathon Simmons – QUESTIONABLE, right wrist contusion.
Isaac left the Magic locker room without any noticeable limp and he is considered day-to-day. “It is the same thing, so you can say it’s a little annoying, but I’m just ready to get back in tomorrow and continue to get treatment and see how I feel,” said Isaac, who also said he had no immediate swelling and X-rays on the ankle were negative. “I felt it while I was in the game and tried to go a couple minutes to see how I feel. I couldn’t really do much on it so I decided to come out.”
Zach Oliver: Jonathan Isaac said he stepped on Boban’s foot and turned his ankle. No swelling, and X-Rays were negative. Going to see how it’s feeling tomorrow.
Josh Robbins: Jonathan Isaac (right ankle sprain) will not return to the game, a team official said.
Magic coach Steve Clifford said that Isaac went through all the team’s drills and scrimmaging on Sunday and again on Monday morning. The hope now is that he will practice on Tuesday and be available to play on Wednesday night when the Magic host the Memphis Grizzlies.
Josh Robbins: Jonathan Isaac (sprained right ankle), Timofey Mozgov (dislocated finger on right hand) and Terrence Ross (right foot contusion) will not play Monday night in Miami, Steve Clifford said. Isaac participated in today's non-contact work and halfcourt contact work in practice.
Josh Robbins: Jonathan Isaac isn't scheduled to play tonight because of his mild right ankle sprain. But he is in uniform and is taking part in the pregame layup line. He still won't play, but his activity level is a sign his current injury isn't as severe as the sprains he had last season.
Josh Robbins: Jonathan Isaac's injury from last night's exhibition game in Philadelphia has been diagnosed as a mild right ankle sprain, a team official told the @OrlandoSentinel. The team likely will list him as "day-to-day," but chances are the Magic will proceed cautiously and not rush him.
Josh Robbins: Jonathan Isaac's left ankle still has swelling and soreness, Frank Vogel said. If those issues continue, it will be highly unlikely that Isaac will play again this season, Vogel said.
Orlando Magic rookie forward Jonathan Isaac continues to be bothered by discomfort in his left foot and didn’t practice Monday, casting doubt about his availability for the team’s game Wednesday against the Brooklyn Nets at Amway Center. Coach Frank Vogel said Isaac still feels some pain in the top of his foot.
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.”
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.”
Josh Robbins: Nothing has been solidified yet with Jonathan Isaac playing in the G League, but Frank Vogel said it appears Isaac likely will play for Lakeland over the weekend.
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.”
Steve Kyler: Magic rookie Jonathan Isaac is progressing - cleared for full contact. Working his way back to game shape. Likely to return sometime after All-Star if things continue without setbacks.
Josh Robbins: Jonathan Isaac and Nikola Vucevic practiced with the team today, but Frank Vogel said both players are a ways away from playing again. In other words, their returns to game action don't appear imminent.
Josh Robbins: Jonathan Isaac will not play tonight against the Pistons because Isaac reaggravated his right ankle in Miami, Frank Vogel said. Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon will be gametime decisions, Vogel said.
Josh Robbins: The Magic have listed Evan Fournier (ankle), Aaron Gordon (calf) and Jonathan Isaac (ankle) as questionable for tomorrow night's game in Miami. Terrence Ross and Nikola Vucevic are out because of their injuries.
Josh Robbins: Here's the Magic's injury report for Friday's game against the Pelicans: QUESTIONABLE: Jonathan Isaac (sore right ankle). DOUBTFUL: Evan Fournier (ankle), Aaron Gordon (calf). OUT: Terrence Ross (knee).
Josh Robbins: Magic forward Jonathan Isaac, who sprained his right ankle on Nov. 11 and hasn't played since, will play this afternoon against the Pistons. He'll have a minutes restriction.
Josh Robbins: Jonathan Isaac's ankle responded well to practice yesterday, but the Magic are going to hold him out tonight as a precaution. ... Also, Arron Afflalo won't play tonight because of back spasms. Mario Hezonja will start on the wing in Afflalo's place with Evan Fournier also out.
Josh Robbins: The Magic have listed Arron Afflalo (back spasms), Aaron Gordon (concussion) and Jonathan Isaac (ankle) as questionable for Friday night's game against the Trail Blazers. Evan Fournier (ankle) and Terrence Ross (knee) are listed as out.
Josh Robbins: Jonathan Isaac, who sprained his right ankle on Nov. 11, practiced with his Orlando Magic teammates this afternoon for the first time since his injury. The next step for him is to see how his ankle responds to today's work.
Josh Robbins: In addition to Terrence Ross, the Magic's injury report for tomorrow night's game against the Hawks lists Jonathan Isaac (right ankle) as out.
Rookie forward Jonathan Isaac, who sprained his right ankle Nov. 11 and has missed Orlando’s last eight games, participated in the non-contact portions of the Magic’s practice Tuesday. He also did some shooting and defensive drills after the workout.
“It felt good,” Isaac said. “I’m definitely making progress. I can’t wait to get back on the court.” His ankle still has some soreness, and team officials have listed Isaac as out for Wednesday night’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“You hate to say you’re missing a 20-year-old rookie, but we are,” Magic coach Frank Vogel said. “He’s a dynamic player, especially on the defensive end, and he’s missed. But every single team in the league has got guys out.”
Josh Robbins: The Magic have listed rookie forward Jonathan Isaac as out for Monday's game against the Pacers. Isaac sprained his right ankle Nov. 11 against Denver.
Josh Robbins: Jonathan Isaac, who sprained his right ankle in Denver on Saturday, is out of his walking boot. He still feels discomfort when he moves side to side, but he's making progress and feeling better.
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.