Southeast Notes: Isaac, Magic, Hachimura, Morris

Discussing the decision to rule out Jonathan Isaac for the remainder of the season, Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman and Isaac himself said on Tuesday there hasn’t been a setback in the forward’s recovery process from a torn ACL, writes Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. That recovery process has simply taken a little longer than Isaac and the Magic expected.

“In terms of building the muscle around my knee, it’s taken a bit longer than we’ve wanted it to,” Isaac said.

According to Weltman, Isaac has been participating in half-court contact drills, but hasn’t progressed to full-court contact. There isn’t enough time left in the regular season for Isaac to go through the last few steps he needs to return to action, so the Magic will count on having him available to start the 2022/23 season.

“This is another example of why you just do the work everyday and kind of let the work and timeline unroll at its own pace,” Weltman said, per Price. “That’s the right way to do it.”

As ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (via Twitter), the injury protection language in Isaac’s rookie scale extension means the Magic would only be on the hook for $23.6MM of the $52.2MM owed to him over the next three seasons if they were to waive him. However, there’s no indication that Orlando is considering that possibility.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • With Isaac and Bol Bol officially ruled out for the rest of the season, Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley should have a clearer sense of which rotation options will be available to him for the final few weeks of 2021/22, Price writes in a separate story for The Orlando Sentinel.
  • After starting all 105 games he played during his first two NBA seasons, Rui Hachimura has come off the Wizards‘ bench in all 27 of his appearances in 2021/22. However, as Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington tweets, head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said it’s possible Hachimura will re-enter the starting lineup before the end of the season. “Everything is on the table,” Unseld said. “I like where he is right now, but as he progresses, we’ll see… Where he is right now from where he was two months ago, it’s night and day.”
  • After returning on Saturday following a four-month absence due to a neck injury, Heat forward Markieff Morris said he only briefly entertained the possibility that he wouldn’t make it back this season, according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. “At times, doubt crept in,” Morris said. “It probably wasn’t until January when the doubt crept in because it was just so long and there were a bunch of things happening that didn’t go as planned. … Other than that, if you ask me personally, I already knew that I would come back to play. It was more so not a matter of if, it was a matter of when.” Morris has played 17 minutes in each of his two appearances since returning, reclaiming his role as the team’s backup power forward.
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