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Jonathan Isaac Gives Injury Update, Praises Magic Rookie Paolo Banchero

"The light is at the end of the tunnel now," said Jonathan Isaac of his ACL recovery.

It's been a long time since Jonathan Isaac suited up for the Orlando Magic – 740 days on Wednesday, to be exact.

Isaac suffered an ACL tear on Aug. 2, 2020 in the "Orlando Bubble" against the Sacramento Kings and has been on a long recover path since ... but it looks like his return to the court is coming sooner than later.

"The light is at the end of the tunnel now," said Isaac in an interview over the weekend. "I'm feeling great. I can see it, and I'm just pushing every day."

Before suffering his devastating injury in the 2019-20 season, Isaac was in the midst of a career-best year, averaging 11.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 1.6 steals in just 28.8 minutes per game. He shot 47 percent from the field, including 34 percent from 3-point range and 78 percent from the free-throw line.

When Isaac returns, it will be to a roster that looks completely different than the one he played with two years ago. There are still some guys Isaac has experience playing with, including Mo Bamba, Markelle Fultz and Terrence Ross. However, he'll have to work on his chemistry with Orlando's influx of young talent, including Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs, Franz Wagner, Wendall Carter Jr. and No. 1 overall pick in this year's NBA Draft, Paolo Banchero.

If Banchero proves to be the superstar player many believe he will be, Orlando's ceiling will be raised significantly. Isaac dished on what he sees in his new rookie teammate.

“(Paolo's) an impressive young kid with great IQ,” said Isaac. “He’s just a big, big dude. He’s got great size, great vision, great passing ability. So, it’s just going to be exciting to get everybody together and see what we can make of it.

"I’m excited, I know the city is excited, and our team is really excited about what we can be. We’ve just got to get it done.”

After being a bottom-dwelling team over the last two seasons, Orlando hopes it can at least fight for a Play-In Tournament spot this year ... and perhaps more if health and chemistry permit. The return of Isaac and the addition of Banchero certainly help the chances of the Magic achieving its goals.

You can follow Dalton Trigg on Twitter at @dalton_trigg

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