After being diagnosed in early January with a severe left knee sprain and bone bruise, Magic forward Jonathan Isaac returned to action during the summer restart at Walt Disney World. His comeback was short-lived, however, as he went down with a torn left ACL during Orlando’s second seeding game.
Having suffered such a significant injury to the same knee that had just sidelined him for months, Isaac faced questions about whether he should have returned at all this summer, especially with the Magic viewed as an extreme long shot to make any noise in the postseason. However, he tells Josh Robbins of The Athletic that he has “no regrets” about the decision.
“In retrospect, no, I don’t think I came back too soon,” Isaac said. “I really was ready to go. I didn’t have any doubts about where I was in terms of moving or playing. I mean, you can watch from the clips of when I was playing — I was fine. I was in great shape outside of just my wind getting back. But I was in great shape. I think I was jumping my highest that I’ve done so far in my career.
“So I have no regrets about coming back or the timing that I did,” Isaac continued. “I trusted the staff, and we came to a decision: ‘I’m ready to play.’ It was my decision at the end of the day, and I went with it. And I’m glad I did.”
While his ACL tear is expected to cost Isaac the entire 2020/21 season, he has maintained a positive attitude about his recovery, telling Robbins that he’s not getting “down” or “upset” about the lengthy process. Isaac added that he has been comparing the steps of his recovery to those of teammate Chuma Okeke, who missed the 2019/20 season with a torn ACL of his own.
“I think he’s upbeat,” head coach Steve Clifford said of Isaac. “He’s attacking the rehab with a good, positive attitude, and that’s who he is. That’s the way he’s always been.”
Isaac is eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason, though it remains to be seen if he and the Magic will seriously attempt to negotiate a new deal while he’s still on the way back from his injury.