Photo: Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images
Jonathan Isaac was showing improvements across the court in the early part of the season. Unfortunately, a left knee injury sustained in early January looked to have ended the third-year players season early.
Leading up to January, Isaac showed promise as a rim protector, as he swatted away 2.4 shots per contest according to basketball-reference. The former Florida State wing was also showing incredible hustle, ranking 9th for the season in deflections per game with 3.3 per NBA Stats.
Following Isaac’s injury, the consensus was that his season was over, which was a massive blow to the Orlando Magic. However, the unforeseen delay in the NBA season due to the COVID-19 pandemic provided Isaac with more time to recover from his injury. This additional recovery time led the 22-year-old to declare he would be traveling with the Magic to the NBA bubble in Disney World.
“I think as of right now; I’m going to the bubble. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be in the bubble. Will I be able to play? I can’t put my finger on it now” – Jonathan Isaac, during an interview with ClickOrlando.com.
The NBA scrimmages began on Wednesday, July 22nd, with the Magic playing the opening game against the LA Clippers – Isaac did not participate in this game. Three days later, the Magic took to the court again, against the Los Angeles Lakers where again Isaac didn’t compete.
However, on Monday, July 27th, the Flordia native made his much-anticipated return to the floor against the Denver Nuggets. Clearly, on a minutes restriction, Isaac managed to fill the stats sheet in just seven minutes of playing time, notching 13 points, seven rebounds, two steals and an assist while also going 2-for-2 from deep.
After the game, Jonathan Isaac spoke about his return to the floor in the post-game interviews.
“It felt really good, and it’s really fun to be back out there. One of the biggest parts about getting back out there was being with my teammates and being able to put my jersey on. And to kind of have it come full circle with all the work that’s been put in.”
Isaac also touched on the chemistry he felt with his teammates following such a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
“It felt good, especially being back out there with Markelle (Fultz), me and him created a pretty good amount of chemistry when I went down.”
Markelle Fultz also touched on the chemistry between himself and Isaac during his post-game press conference.
“I think we all seen it, just the energy he brings on both sides of the floor. I think he was very excited to get back out there, just like as well as everybody else. He brings a lot of energy; it’s hard not to play hard when he’s on the floor because on both ends he’s running the floor, he’s playing defense. It kind of helped me a lot, just seeing his energy, it pushed me to go harder.”
The Orlando Magic play their first seeding game on Friday, July 31st, at 2:30 pm ET. There is currently no update on whether Isaac will feature, or how many minutes he will play. However, if Isaac is back and working his way to game fitness, he will likely have a part to play as the Magic chase the Brooklyn Nets for the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference.