Isaac sidelined but not really saddened
frustrated that he can’t be on the floor helping his teammates.
“I want to play,” he said. “I was excited about the season I was having. Just as a team, I felt we were right there to turning the corner, pushing forward in the season.
“That doesn’t change. I think we’re still right there, and we’re going to find a way to continue to win games and make something of the season.
“As for me, I’m content. I just got to trust and know that [God] has me.”
Isaac was having a breakout defensive season and many experts felt he was making a push for a spot on the NBA All-Defensive team. As of Friday, Isaac ranks fourth in the league in blocked shots, is tied for 11th in steals and tied for 47th in rebounding.
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.
Magic coach Steve Clifford said the injury is an unfortunate blow to Isaac’s individual season, but the long-term prognosis is what really matters.
“It stinks,” Clifford said. “The good part is there’s no structural damage. That’s for his career. That’s the biggest part.”
Isaac said he’s unsure at this time whether surgery might be necessary and no timetable for his recovery has been determined. For now, he’ll keep weight off the knee.
As the team has done in the past with its approach to dealing with injuries, Weltman said the Magic won’t rush Isaac back.
“We’ll gather the best course of action through various medical opinions,” Weltman said. “We’ll proceed very cautiously and deliberately, and we’ll get Jonathan back to where he was and better when he comes back.”
Clifford said Isaac’s absence, while a blow to the team, won’t alter how the Magic play.
“You don’t change the way you play,” Clifford said. “Everybody has to play to their strengths and help their teammates play to their strengths. To me it’s how you play. You’ve got to play smart, you’ve got to play hard and you’ve got to play together.”
With Isaac out, Clifford said he and his staff will continue to formulate playing combinations. The rotations will depend in part on the opponent, he said.
As far as who will pick up Isaac’s minutes, Clifford said he expects Aaron Gordon to get the majority of them, but he won’t play exclusively at the power forward spot. Gordon returned to the lineup Friday against the Heat after missing two games with a lower leg injury.
Amile Jefferson and Khem
Birch, meanwhile, soaked up the minutes after Isaac went out against the Wizards. Birch got the start in Friday’s game against the Heat, but theres no guarantee he will continue to start.
For example, Clifford said sliding Birch into Isaac’s power forward spot won’t work against a team such as the Utah Jazz because of the perimeter ability of 6-foot-8 forward Bojan Bogdanovic. Bogdanovic scored 30 points when the teams met Dec. 17 in Salt Lake City.
The Magic host Saturday.
“That’s one of the things, obviously, we’ll figure out in a week or so,” Clifford said. “That’s where the [forward Al-Farouq Aminu] part comes in. That’s where the Aaron Gordon part comes in.
“We’ve got to figure it out as we go.” the
Magic forward Jonathan Isaac is ready to tackle the rehabilitation process as he recovers from a knee injury that could sideline him two months.