Welcome back, Jonathan Isaac!
Isaac, out since New Year’s Day after suffering a left knee injury, will play in the Magic’s final scrimmage on Monday against the Denver Nuggets, reports Josh Robbins of The Athletic. (Be sure to subscribe to The Athletic to get access to all of Robbins’ coverage of the Magic. It’s worth it).
Isaac, after initially suffering the injury, was to be re-evaluated after six to eight weeks. The back-and-forth regarding his potential return - first for the originally scheduled postseason and then for the restart version - went on for months, with Magic officials neither confirming or denying the possibility. That Isaac traveled with the team to the NBA bubble, unlike Al-Farouq Aminu, seemed to be a good sign. Still, Jeff Weltman tempered expectations, saying the Magic were “planning on life without Jonathan.”
Isaac, though, maintained his optimism throughout.
“I’m optimistic,” he said when he last spoke to the media on July 14. “I have no reservations in my mind. If I’m ready to play and I get the clearance, I’m ready to go. That’s pretty much where I’m at. We’re taking it day-by-day. I’m listening to our front office and guys that are working with me each day to get there. So, I’m just taking it one day at a time...I’m definitely optimistic about my chances.”
Isaac, in his third season, was quietly in the midst of a breakout season, emerging as one of the league’s top defensive stoppers. His services would be put to great use in the Magic’s first round matchup, potentially opposite Pascal Siakam.
Knowing how cautious the Magic have been with their young core players, Isaac on Monday likely will be on a heavy minutes restriction.
Robbins also reported that it remains unclear if Isaac would play when the Magic resume their regular season Friday against the Nets.