Without fail, six days a week, Mondays through Saturday…

Without fail, six days a week, Mondays through Saturdays, he visits the Orlando Magic practice facility to rehabilitate his surgically repaired left knee. “This is just what I have to do for now, but there will come a time when I play again,” Isaac told The Athletic in his first interview since he tore the ACL and meniscus cartilage nearly three months ago.

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“I still have hope. I still have a purpose. I still have a job that I go to and take care of business. But it’s definitely been my faith that has kept me encouraged and kept me going and the people that I’ve surrounded myself with and keep me lifted up. It’s been swift. I really have no complaints about my rehab process. I feel like my rehab process so far — and I know I still have so much to go — has been second to none in terms of getting through it and my mindset in just getting through it. I haven’t been down. I haven’t been upset. I’m just taking it in stride and moving forward and believing and knowing that God has more for me and this is just a process. This is a part of the journey.”
Josh Robbins: Jonathan Isaac, who tore the ACL in his left knee last night, has left the bubble, Jeff Weltman said. The team wants to get a more complete set of MRI images of the interior of Isaac's knee, Weltman said.
Jonathan Isaac: IT IS WELL!!! 2 Kings 4! Thank you for all of your prayers and concerns I’m encouraged. Remember our God is not just a God of the hills but a God of the valleys! (2 Corinthians ch 4 vs 9!) MY COMEBACK WILL BE GREATER THAN MY SETBACK!!!! I STILL STAND IN JESUS NAME!!!!
After Isaac’s injury in early January, Magic officials expected Isaac to miss the remainder of the season and the playoffs, but the pandemic gave him extra time to rehabilitate and strengthen his leg. When players were allowed to return to the Magic practice facility in mid-May for optional individual workouts, Isaac often worked twice a day with team performance staff and medical staff. The current Magic front office has a reputation for being ultra-cautious with the health of its players, especially its younger players. But questions now will be raised whether Isaac was allowed to return too quickly.
Isaac, a 22-year-old forward and potential franchise cornerstone, crumpled to the court and clutched his knee as Magic head athletic trainer Ernest Eugene and athletic trainer and manual therapist Aki Tajima attended to him. A pained expression crossed Evan Fournier’s face. Wes Iwundu looked to the ground, his hands cupped to his face. Fultz prayed. “That was tough, man,” said Aaron Gordon, another of Isaac’s teammates. “That one brought me to tears instantly just because I know how good of a guy J.I. is and I know how hard he works and how hard he has worked to get back.”
“It was very difficult to see him go down like that again, especially the same knee,” said Nikola Vucevic, who saw the injury occur from the Magic bench area. “He was looking great, actually. We were all very happy for him mainly just because he’s a great guy and great teammate. We all have a lot of respect for him, and so for him to go down like that was very difficult to see, especially when you know that he had just came back.”
Roy Parry: Magic coach Steve Clifford said Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac will not start but they will play in the first half. Both will be playing on restricted minutes.
Roy Parry: Magic coach Steve Clifford said Jonathan Isaac took part in contact drills today at practice and while he won't play Saturday vs. the Lakers, Isaac is making progress. Clifford: "We'll see how he feels tomorrow. He won't be able to play tomorrow but I think he's getting closer."
Josh Robbins: Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac participated in the Magic's 5-on-5 contact work today, Steve Clifford said. Neither will play tomorrow in the scrimmage against the Lakers, but both appear to be making progress.
Josh Robbins: For those of you asking, Jonathan Isaac did not practice today as a precaution, and Steve Clifford said J.I. has not done any contact work so far in the bubble. J.I. has done individual drills with assistant coaches Mike Batiste and Rick Higgins that have had some physicality.
Weltman made it crystal clear that Isaac is highly unlikely to play in either the eight regular-season games or during the postseason. “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: We’re planning on life without Jonathan,” Weltman said, referring to the remainder of 2019-20, not future seasons. “Jonathan is with the team because it benefits him to be with the team and he wants to be with the team. Obviously, the same could be said of Farouq, but Jonathan’s at a different stage of his rehab, and most of the work that he needs to get done would benefit him more to be around our performance staff than it would to be in the (practice) facility at this stage. So, obviously, he’s at the stage where he can do a little light court stuff, but that’s about it.”
``I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – we’re planning on life without Jonathan,’’ Jeff Weltman said. ``Jonathan is with the team because it benefits him to be with the team and he wants to be with the team. The same could be said with (Aminu), but Jonathan is at a different stage of his rehab and most of the work that he needs to get done it would benefit him to be around our performance staff. Obviously, he’s at the stage where he can do a little light court stuff. Beyond that, we want to keep him attached to the team and he wants to support his teammates, but I wouldn’t read anything into that.’’
Isaac was ruled out for the remainder of the season, but with the NBA suspending action due to the coronavirus there's now a chance he'll be able to come back. "As of right now, I'm going to the bubble," Issac said. "Will I be able to play? I can't put my finger on it now. I'm going to continue to work every single day like I'm going for it, so hopefully, that crosses paths the right way and is able to happen."
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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November 25, 2020 | 3:10 pm EST Update