Jonathan Isaac out indefinitely
Magic forward suffered knee injury during Wednesday’s game.
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.
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.