Jonathan Isaac thanks God after making his long-awaited return to NBA action
Jonathan Isaac, a forward for the Orlando Magic, tore his ACL in 2020 and missed 2 1⁄2 NBA seasons during his recovery
Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac returned to NBA action Monday, more than two years after a major knee injury derailed his professional career.
In an interview after the game, Isaac credited his faith with giving him strength and hope during his long recovery process.
“There were days where I was like I don’t know if I want to keep going,” he told ESPN. “I have to thank Christ. Being able to go back to my faith and say God has me on this journey for a purpose. I know that I was made to play basketball. I was made to give glory to God on this stage.”
Who is Jonathan Isaac?
Isaac has been in the league since 2017, when he was drafted sixth overall by Orlando in the NBA draft, according to NBA.com.
He’s averaged 9.3 points per game in his career so far, the article noted, but struggled to shake the injury bug.
Isaac’s most significant injury came on Aug. 2, 2020, when his team was competing in the “bubble” during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. He tore his left ACL during a game against the Sacramento Kings and had to be wheeled off the court in a wheelchair.
“He missed all of the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons and half of the 2022-23 campaign,” ESPN reported.
Jonathan Isaac’s pastor announces his return
As he worked his way back to the court from injury, Isaac played for the Lakeland Magic, the Orlando Magic’s G League affiliate. In that setting, he was able to test his leg strength and his conditioning.
“I’m glad I got a couple buckets to fall, but really it was just for my conditioning. I definitely got tired, so that’s something I’ve got to keep working on to have the impact that I want to,” Isaac told The Associated Press after a G League game on Jan. 11.
After some G League outings, news broke that Isaac would return to the NBA. And it came from an unlikely source: his pastor.
“He’ll be returning to the court tomorrow completely healed,” the pastor said during a Sunday morning worship service.
The Athletic’s NBA Insider, Shams Charania, shared the same update soon after.
How did Jonathan Isaac do in his return?
Isaac entered Monday’s game in the first quarter and played around 10 minutes total. He scored 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting, according to ESPN.
He told reporters after the game that he felt relieved and at peace after making his return and once again cited his faith.
“(God) truly is faithful. I just want to thank him. Because this night could have gone so many ways and for it to go the way it did, I appreciate him for it. So there’s a peace, a relief to it, so let’s keep going,” Isaac told ESPN.