Jonathan Isaac wheelchaired off court after apparent knee injury

Jonathan Isaac left the Magic’s game in a wheelchair on Sunday.

Up by 28 with just about nine minutes left in Sunday’s game against the Sacramento Kings, the Orlando Magic had not a care in the world. They were cruising to their second straight victory in the NBA bubble, further solidifying their grip on the 7-seed in the Eastern Conference.

But then third-year forward Jonathan Isaac went down with an apparent knee injury and the air was completely sucked out of the building.

On a drive early in the fourth quarter, Isaac took a hop-step off the dribble as he tried to maneuver his way around defenders and get to the rim. That was when his leg seemingly gave out on a non-contact injury and he dropped to the ground, grabbing his left knee and writhing on the floor in pain.

At full speed, it was hard to tell what happened, since he didn’t step on anyone’s foot and the knee didn’t collapse or bend in any noticeable, unnatural way. But upon slow motion replay, you can clearly see the knee bend as his foot makes contact with the ground, and what should’ve been an easy, uncontested layup turned into a team-altering injury.

There’s no word on the severity of Isaac’s apparent knee injury, but players don’t typically react that way unless they’re in a lot of pain, and the fact that he had to leave the court in a wheelchair makes it even worse. The Magic are a safe bet to make the playoffs, but even if that holds up, it feels unlikely Isaac will be back on the court for Orlando’s six remaining seeding games or even their potential first-round playoff series.

This is a devastating blow to the Magic’s youth movement, which will be relying on Isaac and Markelle Fultz moving forward. Isaac is no stranger to injury woes, since he missed all but 27 games in his rookie season due to a right ankle sprain. In January of 2020, Isaac suffered a posterior lateral corner injury and a medial bone contusion that sidelined him for 8-10 weeks.

The suspended NBA season gave him a chance to return to action for the Magic and begin blossoming as a two-way cornerstone for the franchise. He looked good during the team’s scrimmages and the stars were aligning, but now this horrible injury has completely taken the wind out of his and the Magic’s sails.

Regardless of your opinion on his decision to stand during the national anthem and not wear a Black Lives Matter shirt, this is an awful turn of events for a burgeoning young player and for an Orlando squad that was looking forward to his return to play.

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