Jonathan Isaacwho hasn’t played in an NBA game in more than two years, is about to take a significant step in his return to action.
Orlando Magic big man is being sent to the organization’s G League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic, for workouts, multiple people with knowledge of the situation told the Orlando Sentinel.
magic confirmed the Sentinel’s reporttweeting “in the next step of his injury rehabilitation progression, [Isaac] was assigned [Lakeland Magic] of the NBA G League for training purposes.”
The time with Lakeland is expected to give Isaac a chance to play 5-on-5 against other basketball players for the first time since tearing the ACL in his left knee in NBA play on August 2, 2020.
Isaac told the Sentinel in early November that he played full-court 5-on-5 with the coaching staff when the team was in Orlando for a few weeks, and that remained throughout the month.
With the team on the road, Isaac said, “It’s really just an individual practice where I’m playing 1, running around the field, still trying to get tired.”
Isaac’s focus over the last few weeks, after a long time away from the pitch, has been to get fit – a major step he must take before he returns.
Isaac missed the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons and hasn’t played since tearing his ACL — more than 27 months since he played in an NBA game.
Considering the time he was sidelined before the ACL injury, Isaac hasn’t played consistent basketball in nearly three full years.
He just recovered from a major injury to his left knee in January 2020, before tearing a ligament during the league’s resumption.
If you go that long without consistently playing competitive basketball against other elite athletes, it’s even harder to get back into shape, even when physically fit.
Playing NBA games without being in game shape can make a player more susceptible to other injuries. That’s why the Magic are cautious about bringing him along.
“You take it for granted when you’re already fit and you’ve played so much,” Isaac said. “To finally get to the point where we say, ‘Yes, we’ve reached this indicator, everything is clear, [doctor] says everything is fine; you’re good to start speeding up. I’m so excited for it, but now that I’m going through it and I’m gassed every day, I’m like, ‘Oh my God.’ I forgot how hard it is to be in shape. That’s what I focus on. I can’t wait for my time.”