Markelle Fultz remains sidelined for the Orlando Magic due to his prolonged shoulder injury, including tonight’s road trip against the Knicks in Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. EST, Fox Sports Florida/MSG). He has sat since Nov. 19, spanning his time with the Philadelphia 76ers through his current stint with the Magic.
The Sixers announced on Dec. 4 that Fultz has a condition called thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS). Cleveland Clinic describes TOS as:
“A term used to describe a group of disorders that occur when there is compression, injury, or irritation of the nerves and/or blood vessels (arteries and veins) in the lower neck and upper chest area. Thoracic outlet syndrome is named for the space (the thoracic outlet) between your lower neck and upper chest where this grouping of nerves and blood vessels is found.”
After the Magic traded for Fultz, Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said during a Feb. 13 press conference that he does not know when Fultz will be game-ready and that coaches will bring him along slowly.
“As to the timetable, you guys have heard me say this to the point where you probably don’t want to hear me say it again, but I will anyway. We’re going to do it right. We are not going to do it fast,” Weltman said. “We look forward to getting him in here, getting our arms around him, [and] understanding everything that he’s dealing with. Getting him through that, it’s our job organizationally, from the performance directors to the coaches to all of us to put him in a position to succeed. And however long that takes, that’s how long it’ll take.”
Real GM’s Keith Smith warned many that Fultz could miss the remainder of the season. He tweeted:
He’s Not Just Dealing With a Bad Shoulder
On Christmas Day, Fultz’s agent, Raymond Brothers, told ESPN that Fultz would see the floor again. It’s been over two months since Brothers stated that, “his client is progressing well on his right shoulder.”
“We want to make sure he’s 100 percent and healthy when he does come back,” Brothers said.
The health problems have compounded. Jared Weiss, Derek Bodner, and Sam Amick of The Athletic reported in November that Fultz also had a wrist injury, as well. It explains things such as “double-pumps before taking a shot. Strange spasms when tying his shoes. Odd rituals before setting up for a free throw.”
“In addition to a previously diagnosed right shoulder injury that continues to impact him,” league sources told The Athletic,” Fultz has been playing with an apparent injury in his right wrist area that has adversely affected his ability to shoot. The issue has led to periodic difficulties holding on to the ball during his shot. Specialists have been working with Fultz to figure out how they can strengthen the wrist area to remedy the injury.”
His trainer, as well as Philly.com beat writer Keith Pompey, have said that Fultz’s shoulder was never injured and that he rather had a case of “the yips.”
In 19 games this year with the Sixers, the former No. 1 pick averaged 8.2 points, 3.1 assists and 3.7 boards a game.