Jonathan Isaac was back on the court Friday night, albeit with a Magic team that plays about an hour southwest of the one in Orlando.
The rookie forward, who has been limited to 15 games this season because of a lingering ankle sprain, returned to game action with the Orlando Magic’s G-League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic.
Playing under a strict minutes restriction in what was the first of two rehab starts he’ll get with the team, Isaac had six points on 2-for-6 shooting from the field and 2 of 5 from the free throw line in 13 minutes. The 20-year old added three rebounds, a blocked shot and a steal and committed three turnovers as the Magic defeated the Maine Red Claws, 102-80.
“No pain, no discomfort,” Isaac told Safid Deen of the Orlando Sentinel after the game. “I felt good. A couple shots didn’t fall my way, but I felt good out there.”
Isaac, who the Magic drafted with the sixth overall pick, initially suffered the ankle sprain on Nov. 11, returned in mid-December and soon after reaggravated the injury. The Magic then opted to hold Isaac out indefinitely.
Deen reported that Isaac was limited to three to four minutes at the start of each quarter and jokingly pleaded with Lakeland coach Stan Heath for more playing time.
The rust was apparent and Isaac wanted more time to shake it off. At one point, Deen writes, Isaac raised his index finger in the air, signaling to Dean for one more minute on the court. But Dean had his orders from the powers that be.
“I’m not going to get in game shape until I play games, but I feel like my body is ready for it,” Isaac told Deen. “I just have to test it.”
Sitting courtside for the game, and offering advice to the rookie was Tracy McGrady, who was being honored by Lakeland.
“Hopefully, he’s working extremely hard,” McGrady told Deen. “I know this has been kinda a tough rookie season for him because he’s coming off the ankle injury. Hopefully he finishes up strong. He has a promising career.”
Deen reports that Isaac will be under a 20-minute restriction on Saturday when Lakeland takes on Grand Rapids Drive.