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Magic Forward Jonathan Isaac 'Feels Fantastic' as He Eyes Return From Injury

Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac has averaged 9.3 points, 1.5 blocks and 1.1 steals over 136 career games but has been missed the previous two seasons with a knee injury.

ORLANDO - The last time Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac played in an NBA game, the now 24-year-old looked like an All-Defensive Team selection for years to come.

But two years removed from an ACL tear, the only remaining players from that Magic roster are Mo Bamba, Markelle Fultz and Terrence Ross.

Since then the organization has seen the emergence of Wendell Carter Jr., who the team acquired via trade, along with building a young core from the draft consisting of Franz Wagner, Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs and this year's selections Paolo Banchero and Caleb Houstan.

With the optimism that surrounds this group, the Magic will continue to take its time bringing Isaac back to full strength.

“I know that this has been a long process,” President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman said during media day. “[Isaac’s] ability to kind of remain focused in what’s been a really long ordeal, so we’re hopeful to have him back during the season and I won’t put a timetable on that as usual. We want to give him the best possible space to get his work done.”

As far as Isaac is concerned, the fifth-year forward has felt great throughout the process of getting back to full strength and has begun light activities including running, jumping and playing one on one basketball.

“I feel fantastic, I feel the best I’ve felt throughout this entire process,” Isaac said. “I’m finally ready to start putting it all together and ramping this thing up, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, I wanna get on the court.

“It’s not even them putting the pressure on me, it’s me putting the pressure on them. But I wanna do this thing right, I don’t want any more injuries."

While there is no timetable for his return, the No. 6 pick from the 2017 NBA Draft has not experienced any further setbacks regarding his recovery, and is now just taking things one day at a time.

“There are no more hurdles that we have to clear,” Isaac said. “We’ve kind of hit these different points of the sprinting work, the jumping work, body contact work…can we put it all together and do it enough where we feel comfortable to let you out there? If it’s on me I feel comfortable right now, but they’re gonna give me their timeline.

“I think it’s just the way my body responds, so as we ramp this thing up, can I do it multiple days in a row of running, jumping, hitting sprinting, dunking and be okay, or is it going to be two to three days ‘okay, I need a break’ just based on how I'm feeling’ because a lot of this stuff I haven't done at game speed, so I'm just excited to hear that word game speed again.”

Isaac and his Magic teammates hope the forward will be ready for opening night tip-off on October 19th against the Detroit Pistons. 

You can follow Riley Sheppard on Twitter @RileyDSheppard

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