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After two-year absence, Magic’s Jonathan Isaac will return to court Monday


Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac (4) played for the organization’s G League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic, three times ahead of his anticipated return to the floor. Isaac hasn’t played an NBA game since his ACL injury over 2 1/2 years ago. (Willie J. Allen Jr./Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)


The last time we saw Jonathan Isaac on an NBA court was in the bubble, August 2, 2020. He had missed much of that pandemic-ravaged season due to a knee injury but came back in the bubble, which is when Isaac tore his ACL. That following March, he had a setback and another surgery.

Monday night, after more than two-year absence from the NBA — 904 days total — Isaac is set to return to the court for the Magic, according to multiple reports, and his pastor said as much on Sunday. Isaac has been officially upgraded to questionable as of Sunday night, with a move to available expected on Monday. It has been a long road with a lot of work for Isaac to get here — including a stop in the G-League — but he persisted and made it back to this point.

The Magic have found their future franchise cornerstone in Paolo Banchero, but there was a time when it was thought Isaac might be that star in Orlando. Isaac was a raw offensive player whose game was developing but looked like a future defensive anchor averaging 2.3 blocks and 1.6 steals in the games he played in the 2019-20 season.

After two years off, expectations have to be tempered for Isaac, but if he can find some of that defensive form again over the coming years he could find a spot in the Magic’s frontcourt rotation with Banchero, Bol Bol, Wendell Carter Jr. and Franz Wagner.

The Magic host the Boston Celtics starting at 7 p.m. Eastern tonight.