Isaac savours 'surreal' Magic return in win over Celtics after missing 211 games

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Jonathan Isaac expressed his gratitude to the Orlando Magic for "sticking with me" after he made a "surreal" long-awaited return in a 113-98 win over Boston Celtics.

Isaac had been out since tearing his ACL when the NBA restarted at Walt Disney World in August 2020 and wondered if he would ever be back on court in an NBA game.

The Magic forward's comeback finally came at Amway Center on Monday as Orlando ended the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics' nine-game winning run.

Isaac missed 211 games, but came off the bench to score 10 points, claim three rebounds and produce two steals in an appearance of around nine and a half minutes.

He said: "Much love to the Magic for sticking with me. And the Magic fans were excited, so I was just trying to bottle all that up in one moment. It was surreal."

Isaac added: "There were days where I was like I don't know if I want to keep going.

"But then again, 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."

Isaac understandably felt the pace on his return from such a long absence.

"That kind of first wind got to me. That last minute I could barely talk I was breathing so hard," Isaac said. "But the second rotation in the second half, that four minutes, I started to just relax and just feel good."

Paolo Banchero top scored with 23 points for the Magic, while 26 points apiece for Celtics duo Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were in vain.

Orlando are 18-29 down in 13th place in the Eastern Conference, with Boston leading the way at 35-13.