Jonathan Isaac is confident in his ability to return from a torn ACL and is already eager to continue working through his rehab with the Orlando Magic.
It is sometimes easy to forget Jonathan Isaac is still a kid at heart.
The 23-year-old forward acts fairly mature for his age, steeped in his faith and with poise and focus to be great. He is usually pretty well put together around the media and humble to the point where the biggest pre-Draft criticism of him was people begging him to be more assertive.
Still, the kid in him pops up in a playful way.
He told the Orlando Magic Pod Squad he is eager to do more and more with his rehab from a torn ACL. What might be a dark time and one with a lot of work ahead of him, has become a running joke with his trainers.
Jonathan Isaac said he tells them all the time how he snuck back into Amway Center late at night to start shooting jumpers and dunking and running, scaring them in the process. The trademark smile from Isaac likely flashes across his face.
He knows he is not there yet. As eager as he is to do more, he knows he has to do the work. And Isaac has always been willing to put that work in.
He knows there is still a long road ahead for him. But his rehab process from his torn ACL is going well so far.
He gave a couple of updates on his progress — first granting an interview to Josh Robbins of The Athletic and then joining the Orlando Magic Pod Squad to promote his upcoming Hold up the Lights event on Nov. 7 at Lake Eola Park in Downtown Orlando.
Isaac is already very deep into his rehab. Isaac said he heads to the Amway Center for rehab after breakfast in the mid-morning. He said he is doing work on the pool and the bike and is already doing some bodyweight activities.
He told Robbins that he is no longer on crutches and is walking around.
These are all good signs. But there is still a long journey ahead of him to get better.
"“Every time I have stepped away from the game, I’ve still been in the game,” Isaac said on the podcast. “My mindset has been to bring the same effort, bring the same grind, bring the same grit that I bring on the floor into my rehab. It has made me better every single time. The biggest thing is my mind has grown so much from my rookie year to now and it has been because of the tests and the trials that have helped me to see clearly and know that I’m going to overcome this.”"
It is still unlikely Isaac plays in the 2021 season. The Magic will try to keep him engaged just as they did during his knee injury in the 2020 season.
Swarm and Sting
Isaac though is still very confident he will be back and better than ever. He said he believed he was playing his best basketball in the games he returned from the posterolateral corner injury that kept him out from January until the season resumed in July.
He said he felt like he came back stronger and more confident. He said he moved better than he ever had. Judging by his production in those two games plus the scrimmage against the Denver Nuggets, it was hard not to feel that.
Isaac is confident he can get back there. And he knows he needs to improve his skills like dribbling and shooting to become the player he envisions himself being. He has already shown how quickly he can adjust and make an impact defensively.
It is still not certain at this point if he will travel with the team. That seems unlikely considering the pandemic is ongoing and the league is probably going to work to limit exposure as much as possible when teams travel across the country.
Until then, Isaac will be focused on studying the league and helping review tape. And most importantly getting his body back to full health.
That journey is seemingly well underway and making tons of progress.