Former 2014 Draft prospect Isaiah Austin returns to court in Europe

The comeback of former Baylor standout Isaiah Austin took another step Sunday as he had nine points and four rebounds in 12 minutes in his debut with Serbian team FMP Belgrade, Austin’s first game in almost three years.

It was a big moment despite the modest numbers for the player who was told just before the 2014 draft he had to quit basketball forever after being diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder that strikes the connective tissues that hold together cells and organs. He announced earlier this season, though, that he had been cleared to resume his career.

NBA front offices were unsure if that meant Austin’s condition had changed or he simply found a doctor who contradicted the earlier findings and said he was able to play. Either way, interest here could best be described as muted and more curious than anything, even while rooting for him to succeed amid difficult circumstances.

“I’ve never heard anybody (in the NBA) talk about any skepticism on that because I don’t think he’s on people’s radar like that,” one general manager told NBA.com in December. “I don’t think there’s a buzz like, ‘Whoa, now he’s been declared healthy. Is he really healthy?’ I don’t think people are looking at it that way. I think people are more ‘OK, that’s interesting.’ I can see maybe someone trying to do a feel-good story, liking a little bump from a PR standpoint. Maybe someone does a short-term contract with him and brings him in.”

Austin, tracking to the end of the first round or the start of the second in the weeks before the 2014 draft, signed with FMP Belgrade instead of working out for NBA teams. That led to his debut Sunday.