It's been over two years since Jonathan Isaac has suited up for the Orlando Magic. The 6-foot-11 forward last played in an NBA game on Aug. 2, 2020 before tearing his left ACL, which has sidelined him since. However, after a lengthy rehab process, Isaac is set to return to NBA action on Monday night against the Celtics, per Shams Charania. Isaac played three games in the G League before rejoining the Magic, and also had been practicing with Orlando since early December.
The last time we saw Isaac play in the NBA, he was showing flashes of becoming a versatile defensive threat using his length and size to be a quality rim protector, but being agile enough to guard out on the perimeter. On offense, he could stretch the floor out to the 3-point line, knocking down 34 percent of his attempts. Isaac could also put the ball on the deck and get his own bucket, and was a dangerous threat rolling to the rim. Prior to tearing his ACL, he was averaging 12 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocks.
Isaac was the No. 6 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, but injuries have hampered his career. His return to the Magic adds to the seemingly limitless amount of length Orlando has at its disposal, which also includes Bol Bol (who has been having somewhat of a breakout year), Mo Bamba, Wendell Carter Jr., and last year's No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero, the 2023 Rookie of the Year frontrunner.
It'll take time before Isaac is back into any sort of rhythm, and there's no telling how his body will respond after being away for two-and-a-half years. But if he can get back to how he was performing prior to the injury, it'll provide the Magic more depth not just for this season, but in the future. Orlando is in the midst of a rebuild, and in the last two drafts have nailed its picks with Banchero and Franz Wagner.
Although the team is 17-29 and appears to be headed back to the lottery, the future looks bright for the Magic. If Isaac can be part of that in some way, then his long-awaited return will be worth it.