NBA Rumor: Jonathan Isaac Injury

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“It’s a mind thing. They say sports is ninety percent mental, ten percent physical – whatever percentage you want to give it but it’s more mental than physical – so my mind is still there in terms of how I was playing,” Isaac recently told reporters. “My body just has to catch up now with this recent injury. I’ll get better. I’ll get back on the court. I’ll be expecting and knowing that I’m going to play better than I did when I left because my mind is continuing to get better off of it. That’s what it’s been my entire career so far. I have been out for quite a bit of time battling these injuries but every time I’ve come back, I’ve come back better. Not just because my body has gotten better, but because my mind is in a better place.”

“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.”

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.”

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.’’

Jonathan Isaac returning this season?

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.”

“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.”

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.’

Jonathan Isaac done for the season?

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.”

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].”


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.”
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