The former No. 1 overall pick sounds ready to make his debut in an Orlando Magic uniform.
Markelle Fultz, who was acquired by the Magic via trade from the Philadelphia 76ers back in February, told me during Magic media day on Monday that the goal is for him to make his debut for Orlando during the preseason opener on Oct. 5 versus the San Antonio Spurs.
“That’s my goal. Like I said, I’m just taking it day-by day. Right now, I’m just looking forward to training camp, just competing in there,” said Fultz.
The 21-year-old has been sidelined for almost a full year and hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since last November as a member of the Sixers. Fultz has dealt with a serious shoulder ailment described as thoracic outlet syndrome, a neurogenic type of the disorder which “affects nerves between the neck and shoulder resulting in abnormal functional movement and range of motion, thus severely limiting Markelle’s ability to shoot a basketball”
Markelle Fultz Looks 100 Percent Healthy
The Magic have remained mum regarding Fultz’s rehab and when he’ll exactly make his debut. However, all signs seem to indicate that Fultz is ready to make his Magic debut after the team leaked a workout video featuring the young combo guard and his normal shooting motion.
Furthermore, the Magic have already stated he’ll be ready to participate in training camp when the team opens on Tuesday. Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weitman sounded exuberant regarding Fultz’s return and stressed that they will remain patient with their promising young guard.
“It’s really important: Markelle just turned 21,” Weltman said. “You guys saw the work that he’s put in, and he’s shooting the ball freely. He’s in a really good place. I hope our fans are really excited to see this; this is why we’re doing this (opening this workout to the media).
“And, also, we are going to remain patient and we’re not going to put expectations or timelines on his development. He hasn’t played basketball in a year. He’s played 33 games total in his career, so it’s going to unfold the way it unfolds, as we always say with all of our young guys.”
Fultz Says This Is the Best He’s Felt Since Being Drafted
Fultz further validated his return status by stating during media day that he feels “really good.” He also said he feels better than he ever has since been drafted with the top overall pick in the 2017 Draft.
“Oh yeah, I feel really good. I’m just taking it day-by-day. Looking forward to the season. Getting a good sweat in and getting ready for the season.”
“It’s been awhile. I haven’t really been like this since I’ve been drafted. I’ve overcome a lot,” said Fultz.
Fultz, who had high expectations as the Sixers’ savior, isn’t concerned about what his role will be in Orlando this season. At the current moment, he’s expected to enter the season as the third-string point guard behind starter D.J. Augustin and primary backup Michael-Carter Williams. He agreed with the idea that he’s just concerned in helping the Magic win.
“Yeah, 100 percent. The only thing I’m really worried about is helping this team and giving it my all. Just doing what I need to do to help us win.”
Orlando clinched a playoff berth for the first time since the 2011-12 season last year and also clinched their first division title since the 2009-10 campaign.
Fultz will look to play a role in the Magic returning to the postseason. He could very turn out to be the team’s X-Factor as they look to thrive in a weak division featuring three rebuilding teams.
Follow the Heavy on NBA Facebook page for all the latest stories, rumors and viral content!