Storyline: Jonathan Isaac Injury

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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.”
8 months ago via ESPN

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.”

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.”

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.”
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August 15, 2020 | 4:13 pm EDT Update
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August 15, 2020 | 1:34 pm EDT Update
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August 15, 2020 | 12:37 pm EDT Update
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In February of ’92, just three months after announcing his retirement, Johnson cleared a bigger physical and psychological hurdle, playing for the Western Conference in the 1992 NBA All-Star Game in Orlando. That appearance was one of the first major counters to the concerns – and, frankly, the prejudices – that many people living with HIV had faced from others. There was Magic Johnson, HIV-positive, still doing what he’d done as well as anyone who’d ever played the game. But it had been a long and difficult road to get there. “There was a question if, after his announcement, forget about the All-Star Game,” Johnson’s longtime agent, Lon Rosen, said last week. “If he was going to be able to play in the Olympics, number one, was he going to be alive? Number two, was he going to be healthy? And number three, if he was healthy, would other teams play against him? If you recall, in 1991, some people didn’t want to be in the same room as him. It was COVID to another degree.”
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