Orlando Magic F Jonathan Isaac is expected to miss two months due to a severe knee sprain and bone contusion, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday evening.
An MRI on left knee of Orlando Magic F Jonathan Isaac shows a severe sprain and bone contusion and team plans to re-evaluate his status in approximately two months, league sources tell ESPN. Good news: There was no structural damage to ACL, MCL or PCL ligaments.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 2, 2020
While there’s not structural damage, the injury is enough to hold the budding young defensive star out for the next two months, which will certainly hurt Orlando’s playoff hopes. So with Isaac sidelined for an extended period of time, we now have to try and replace him in fantasy basketball leagues on the waiver wire. Let’s look at how to approach this on ESPN.
Who to pick up in fantasy basketball?
There are three names I’m going to throw out there and then we’ll break down each one. Terrence Ross, D.J. Augustin and Khem Birch are the players to consider. Wes Iwundu is also in the running, but he’s more of a swingman replacement for Aaron Gordon, who is also out due to a sore Achilles.
So Ross (30.7 percent owned on ESPN) I like the most out of this bunch because I think the Magic will be forced to go with smaller lineups rather than bigger ones. In the in over the Wizards on Wednesday after Isaac left, Ross and Augustin played big minutes off the bench. Ross scored 15 points in 24 minutes, and has generally been getting a decent amount of playing time with Gordon out.
Augustin (10.4 percent) isn’t a direct fill-in for Isaac because he’s a guard, but again, I think the Magic don’t mind playing lineups with Augustin, Markelle Fultz and Evan Fournier at the 3. They can then move Iwundu to PF and Vucevic will play C, per usual. That lineup isn’t as strong defensively, but is still very capable on offense with plenty of shooters and passers. Like Ross, Augustin gets plenty of run off the bench anyway, so with Isaac out it’s just more minutes to compensate for in the lineup.
Birch is the more traditional replacement, being a PF/C by trade. My issue with Birch is he may be in the starting lineup for Isaac moving forward, but doesn’t offer much upside in fantasy. Outside of rebounding — which he isn’t even strong at to begin with — Birch can’t really score the basketball. Still, he’s a big body and if Gordon remains out, the Magic will need size to compete with certain lineups. Birch is more of a very, very deep league claim, but not my favorite.