Welcome back Jonathan Isaac: How injured players did in their returns

Jonathan Isaac is set to make his triumphant return to the court Monday night for the Orlando Magic. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Jonathan Isaac is set to make his triumphant return to the court Monday night for the Orlando Magic. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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How injured players did in their returns

Other Returns

Klay Thompson: Jan. 9, 2022 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers – 17 points, 7/18 FG

The closest comparison we might have to Jonathan Isaac’s long layoff is the long layoff Klay Thompson had after tearing his own ACL and then rupturing his Achilles on the precipice of his return.

Thompson put in a heroic effort in the 2019 NBA Finals before he tore his ACL. He was set to return before the 2021 season when tragedy struck and he ruptured his Achilles forcing him to miss another year.

Thompson returned in 2022 and slowly got back into form. He at least had one skill that could come back quickly — his shooting. And that was what stood out in this game and his early run with the Warriors.

Thompson made only 7 of 18 field goals and 3 of 8 3-pointers. But that was more than enough to make a lot of impact and boost his team. He brought that presence and skill immediately to his team.

As Thompson would probably say, he is still getting his legs back a year after his return. He is averaging 20.6 points per game and shooting 38.9 percent from beyond the arc this year. It just shows how quickly a player can get back.

Kevin Durant: Dec. 22, 2021 vs. Golden State — 22 points, 7/16 FGs

Kevin Durant has been one of the many players around the league who have praised Jonathan Isaac when he was on the floor. One of the many players who recognizes his game and wants to highlight his potential.

That was all before the injury. But Durant is a good player to look at too even if he is more offensively minded than Isaac — and had a different injury than Isaac.

Isaac, and several other big ball-handling forwards, always cite Durant as a model for their game. They want to be Durant and he represents the wave of unicorn-ish big guards essentially.

Durant gave the Golden State Warriors a double dose of trouble, rupturing his Achilles in the 2019 Finals against the Toronto Raptors. He then left for the Brooklyn Nets and sat out the 2021 season.

When he returned with Brooklyn in December 2021, nobody knew what to expect. Achilles injuries became the new ACL injury — potentially career-ending and certainly career-altering.

Durant has been part of redefining what players can do after Achilles injuries. He averaged 26.9 points per game and shot 53.7 percent from the floor that first year back. And he has only gotten better since then.

Durant had an impressive debut. He scored 22 points on 7-for-16 shooting. That is about as pedestrian a game as Durant could have. At least by today’s standards.

But he looked comfortable and ready to go. And he has not stopped since.

Next. Orlando Magic are ready to raise their standard. dark

There is no reason to think that with some time, Isaac will be able to get back to his pre-injury levels. And judging by some of these returns, it might come quicker than you think.