Jonathan Isaac hasn’t played in an NBA game since August of 2020, and his next opportunity won’t come until next season.
Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel first reported that Isaac had been ruled out for the remainder of the season and the Magic confirmed the news shortly after.
“First and foremost, the care of our players will always be our top priority,” Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said in a statement. “We have to remember that Jonathan has missed essentially two years. While it continues to be a day-to-day process for him as he continues to strengthen and condition all aspects of his body, we feel we have reached a point where it would be prudent to say that he will not play this season.
“I understand this can be frustrating to our fans, but Jonathan has worked extremely hard and he is eager to return to game action, which is why we must continue to manage his rehabilitation with the big picture in mind. Quite frankly, we are just out of time to ramp him up to play in games this season.”
While disappointing, the announcement comes as no surprise considering the Magic have 13 games remaining and there has been no word of Isaac even being cleared for contact.
It will be the second-straight full season that Isaac has missed since tearing his ACL on Aug. 2, 2022. The injury occurred shortly after Isaac returned from a knee sprain that cost him 31 games, with the NBA’s four-month hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic allowing for Isaac to make a return in the league’s Disney bubble.
Isaac’s return at the time lasted a total of just 38 minutes spread over one scrimmage and two seeding games. He hasn’t played a game since, with the Magic organization providing little to no detail as to why the rehab has extended well beyond the typical recovery time for a torn ACL.
The Magic have been incredibly vague with the few updates they did provide on Isaac. That is the Orlando way when disclosing information on injuries and return timeframes, but when one of the team’s top players misses two full seasons and there has been no word of a setback of any kind, the fans deserve more transparency and fewer generic updates.
Isaac told reporters on Tuesday that there have not been any setbacks during his rehab...
Jonathan Isaac says it's disappointing to miss the rest of the season.— Khobi Price (@khobi_price) March 15, 2022
Adds there hasn't been any setbacks. The rehab has simply taken longer than expected. pic.twitter.com/d6g4tuGlTp
The last update on Isaac from Magic brass prior to Tuesday came from general manager John Hammond in early March.
“No expectation either way,” Hammond told 96.9 The Game of Isaac’s return this season. “We’re trying to keep Jonathan ready physically, keeping Jonathan ready mentally. He’s committed to the medical staff and they’re committed to him.”
Weltman had this to say about Isaac in November:
“There is a right way to do this. The most important thing for Jonathan is not just that we address the injury, but his whole body. He’s missed essentially two years of action and there’s a lot that comes with that. So making sure that his body is balanced, that it’s strengthen everywhere, that his core is tight. In the meantime, he’s using the time very productively. His body is filling out, his shot looks way improved from the last time he was on the court, and he’s in a really good place. I hope our fans are sticking with him, I know that they are. He’s just made great progress and he’s looking very good. That said, unfortunately, we are never in position to divulge more specific timelines because a lot of what this looks like on the backend is what happens as we go through it. And it’s a day-to-day process, it’s a daily grind and he’s doing really well with it.“
The 24-year-old Isaac, by the end of this season, will have missed the last 160 regular season games. He has played in just 136 games over the first five seasons of his career.
Isaac is currently in the first year of a four-year, $70 million extension he signed with the Magic four months after tearing his ACL.