Jonathan Isaac discusses the Orlando Magic's 114-110 loss to the Detroit Pistons in this postgame video
DETROIT — Jonathan Isaac is finally back.
The Orlando Magic's prized rookie forward played almost 17 minutes in a 114-110 loss to the Detroit Pistons on Sunday afternoon — his first game action since he sprained his right ankle on Nov. 11.
Held to a minutes restriction as a precaution, Isaac altered some Detroit Pistons shots with his length and agility but also went 0 of 4 from the field with two turnovers.
"He was really rusty, really on both ends, even on the defensive end just being sharp with his rotations and whatnot," Magic coach Frank Vogel said. "That was to be expected, but I think it's a big step getting him back in the game, feeling the game adrenaline and game environment again."
Isaac was encouraged to be back on the court.
Frank Vogel discusses the Orlando Magic's 114-110 loss to the Detroit Pistons in this postgame video
"I definitely felt rusty," he said. "But conditioning-wise, I honestly felt good. I feel like I was in for a pretty good stretch and I was OK. I wasn't overly tired like I needed to sub [out] right away, so I'm happy about the conditioning."
The Magic have some welcome news and some unwelcome news about the injury Aaron Gordon sustained on Friday.
An MRI showed that Gordon's right calf strain is mild. That's the good news.
The unwelcome news is twofold.
First, Gordon also has a small bone bruise in the impacted area, a source with knowledge of the situation said. Second, Gordon has no prior experience rehabbing a calf strain.
Mario Hezonja discusses the Orlando Magic's 114-110 loss to the Detroit Pistons in this postgame video
"It's just a mild calf strain," Gordon said. "I've never had one of these before, so I've got to be really careful. With other things — like concussions, ankle sprains, things that I've had before — I kind of understand how to rehab and how to get back efficiently. With this, I've got to learn. So it's a learning process. I'm going to do my best to get back. I've learned a lot about my body since I've been in the NBA, so it's just another thing that I'm learning."
Gordon said his calf still felt sore Sunday. Wearing a compression sleeve that extended from his lower right thigh to his right calf, Gordon did some core and glute exercises prior to the game against Detroit.
Evan Fournier is making progress in his recovery from the right ankle sprain he suffered on Dec. 6.
Fournier did some running on the Little Caesars Arena court before tipoff Sunday.
Vogel employed a starting lineup of Elfrid Payton, Shelvin Mack, Jonathon Simmons, Mario Hezonja and Nikola Vucevic against the Pistons.
It was the 12th different starting lineup the team has used this season.
The major difference was that Mack, a veteran, started at the off-guard spot instead of rookie Wes Iwundu.
Nikola Vucevic discusses the Orlando Magic's 114-110 loss to the Detroit Pistons in this postgame video
"We're looking at different ways to give us a spark," Vogel said. "Shelvin's been playing solid for us, and Wesley's still going to get his run off the bench."
In 27 minutes, Mack scored two points, gathered two rebounds and dished out two assists. The Magic were outscored by only two points when he was in the game.
Pistons coach Stan VanGundy didn't like how his team played in the second half, especially when it allowed the Magic to string together 19 consecutive points in the fourth quarter to pull within 105-100.
"We didn't bring anything to the second half," Van Gundy said.
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