The Orlando Magic traded for Markelle Fultz, but fans will likely have to wait until next season for the point guard to play. All indications are Fultz will not play until the 2019-20 season. Magic head coach Steve Clifford noted in March that it would be “very difficult” for Fultz to return this season.
“He’s still rehabbing his shoulder and he’s not even able to really do much on the floor yet,” Clifford said, per ESPN. “It’s a pretty significant shoulder injury. I would say he’s starting to do a little bit, but it would be very difficult for him to get back this year.”
When Fultz was still with the Sixers, the team announced he had been diagnosed with Thoracic outlet syndrome. ESPN detailed how the syndrome impacts the body.
The thoracic outlet is an anatomical region between the neck and the shoulder where key blood vessels and nerves travel en route to supply the upper extremity. Compression or abnormal pressure of structures in the thoracic outlet can be due to soft tissue (such as muscle or ligament) or bone (such as a normal rib, an extra rib or the collarbone) anomalies.
The Magic have been vocal about trying to bring Fultz along slowly. Magic president Jeff Weltman provided an update on Fultz in a March interview with The Athletic.
As I’ve been saying, the timetable will dictate itself. We’re not going to superimpose a timetable over what he’s experiencing and what he’s going through. So as it plays out, the next step will be for him to join his team in Orlando and all of us to get our arms around him to continue the good work that he’s been doing in L.A., and we’ll just take it from there.
The Magic Traded a 2020 1st Round Pick, 2019 2nd Round Pick & Jonathon Simmons to the Sixers for Fultz
It was a low-risk trade for the Magic for a player just two years removed from being the No. 1 pick. Orlando traded a 2019 second rounder, 2020 first round pick and Jonathon Simmons for Fultz.
The new Orlando point guard has been seen on the bench at games. Fultz sounded optimistic that he can resurrect his career with the Magic.
“I think the biggest thing that we’ve talked about is just doing stuff the right way, just building me up as a man and on the court,” Fultz explained to the Orlando Sentinel. “I think that’s music to my ears. Two things that I really want to do is be the best player I can be and be the best young man I can be. They do a great job of doing that as you can see with the team they have now.”
Fultz also described some of the symptoms he is experiencing with his shoulder injury.
“It’s hard to lift up your arms,” Fultz noted to Orlando Sentinel. “You lose feeling in your fingers. You can’t tell when it’s going to happen. It’s not like you do the same motion every time. You get tingling in your fingers, numbness. Stuff like that.”