Jonathan Isaac out in­def­i­nitely

Magic for­ward suf­fered knee in­jury dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s game.

Orlando Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Roy Parry

WASH­ING­TON — Orlando Magic for­ward Jonathan Isaac ini­tially thought the worst part of the knee in­jury he sus­tained Wed­nes­day night in Wash­ing­ton was go­ing to be sore­ness.

An MRI on Thurs­day, how­ever, showed Isaac’s knee is far from OK.

The pro­ce­dure in­di­cated the Magic for­ward sus­tained a pos­te­rior lat­eral in­jury and a me­dial bone con­tu­sion af­ter hy­per­x­tend­ing his knee at the 9-minute, 57-sec­ond mark of the first quar­ter dur­ing a 122-101 win against the

Wizards. Isaac will be out in­def­i­nitely and re-eval­u­ated in eight to 10 weeks, the team has an­nounced. Op­er­a­tive and non-op­er­a­tive treat­ments will be con­sid­ered, and his re­turn to the court will de­pend on how he re­sponds to treat­ment and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

The scan, how­ever, did not show any lig­a­ment dam­age, and the Magic re­main en­cour­aged Isaac will make a full re­cov­ery.

“While this cer­tainly is dis­ap­point­ing news, there was no dam­age to his ACL, MCL and PCL lig­a­ments,” pres­i­dent of basketball op­er­a­tions Jeff Welt­man said in a news re­lease. “All signs point to a com­plete re­cov­ery and this should not im­pact his fu­ture growth.”

The 6-foot-10 Isaac leads the NBA in “stocks,” a com­bi­na­tion of to­tal steals and blocks with 128, and ranks fourth in the league in blocked shots. He’s also tied for 11th in steals, ranks 17th in steals-to-turnover ra­tio (1.06, 50 / 47) and tied for 39th in re­bound­ing.

As of Thurs­day, Isaac is one of two play­ers in the NBA to rank in the top 11 in blocked shots and steals. Detroit Pis­tons cen­ter An­dre Drum­mond is the other.

The prog­no­sis cer­tainly is bad news for the Magic. A long-term in­jury to Isaac, one of the NBA’s top shot block­ers, will fur­ther chal­lenge an Orlando team al­ready deal­ing with a slew of in­juries and try­ing to gain trac­tion in the win col­umn.

Start­ing for­ward Aaron Gor­don (sore left Achilles) has missed two straight games, while re­serve guard Michael Carter-Williams con­tin­ues to re­cover from a shoul­der in­jury and for­ward Al-Farouq Aminu re­mains with­out a timetable for his re­turn as he deals with a torn menis­cus in his right knee.

Start­ing cen­ter Nikola Vuce­vic missed 11 games ear­lier this sea­son with an an­kle in­jury.

The Magic were off Thurs­day. They open a four-game home­s­tand Fri­day night against the ri­val Mi­ami Heat. It will be their first meet­ing this sea­son.

Isaac in­jured his knee when he tried to con­vert a steal into a layup.

Isaac’s knee buck­led as he tried to slip past Wizards guard Bradley Beal and get to the bas­ket.

As Isaac tried to step across Beal and get into the lane, video showed the back of Isaac’s left leg catch­ing Beal’s right leg.

Isaac even­tu­ally was taken off the court on a wheeled stretcher as a pre­cau­tion.

By half­time, Isaac said he had a pretty good idea the in­jury wasn’t as se­vere as it first looked. He was able to walk and bend the knee freely.

“I’m pretty con­fi­dent that it’s go­ing to be just fine,” he said af­ter the game. “Ob­vi­ously, I’ll get the MRI done, see what it says and go from there. But I’m pretty con­fi­dent that it’s a hy­per­ex­ten­sion. There might be some sore­ness to work through and then get it bet­ter.”

His team­mates cer­tainly were breath­ing a sigh of re­lief when they got to the locker room for half­time and checked on Isaac.

When Isaac went down, point guard Markelle Fultz, who’s bat­tled his own set of in­juries in his short NBA ca­reer, im­me­di­ately thought of his team­mate’s well-be­ing.

“My heart dropped, just for him as a per­son, let alone basketball,” he said. “I just know how hard-work­ing he is and the [kind of ] guy he is. So as soon as he went down, in my head I thought pos­i­tive, but I was just hop­ing that he was OK. When he went down, I was a lit­tle hurt. When the stretcher came out, I just said a lit­tle prayer for him.”

The Magic ral­lied around their in­jured team­mate. Amile Jef­fer­son and Khem Birch took over the min­utes nor­mally slot­ted to Isaac and de­liv­ered solid per­for­mances. Jef­fer­son did not score un­til the game was nearly over but con­trib­uted six re­bounds, two as­sists and a block. Birch, mean­while, col­lected 10 re­bounds — seven in the fourth quar­ter — and scored seven points.

In ad­di­tion, for­ward Wes Iwundu fin­ished with a sea­son-high 10 points as he started in place of the in­jured Gor­don for the sec­ond straight game.

Fultz ap­plauded the Magic’s over­all ef­fort.

“I think it shows how deep our bench goes,” Fultz said of the team’s per­for­mance un­der the cir­cum­stances. “When we play the right way and play to­gether and we com­pete at a high level on both ends of the floor, we can do any­thing.

“I think it goes back to play­ing the right way and al­ways be­ing pre­pared. I think the guys that are on the bench that maybe some­times don’t al­ways get to play, un­for­tu­nately when stuff like that hap­pens, they step up and are ready to play. It’s good for our team, it was good to see that and I think we’re go­ing to build on it.”

With Isaac out, the Magic will have to.

JOHN RAOUX / AP

An MRI showed Magic for­ward Jonathan Isaac didn’t sus­tain any dam­age to his ma­jor lig­a­ments, but the for­ward will miss sig­nif­i­cant time be­cause of a left knee in­jury.

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