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Philadelphia 76ers guard Markelle Fultz will visit a shoulder specialist next week and will not participate in any practices or games until he is evaluated, according to The Athletic’s David Aldridge.
76ers general manager Elton Brand told reporters there was no indication Fultz was dealing with an injury. Brand made sure to show his support for Fultz but was “clearly” surprised by this development, according to Bleacher Report’s Yaron Weitzman.
Philly sports anchor Dave Uram shared additional comments from Brand:
Dave Uram @MrUram
I asked #Sixers GM Elton Brand if he found the timing of these Markelle Fultz developments odd https://t.co/YJUsCM13zq
The 2017 No. 1 overall pick is reportedly operating under the advice of his attorney, Raymond Brothers.
76ers coach Brett Brown told reporters it was the “first real red-flag type news:”
Keith Pompey @PompeyOnSixers
#Sixers coach Brett Brown in the Markelle Fultz situation. https://t.co/WHLwdx8VB1
Fultz isn’t a stranger to spending time on the shelf.
The 20-year-old missed 68 games as a rookie because of a shoulder ailment that seemed to facilitate the decline of his jump shot. He played just four contests before being shut down, and he was quite limited when he eventually returned to the floor in March.
Appearing in 14 games, Fultz averaged 7.1 points, 3.8 assists and 3.1 rebounds while shooting 40.5 percent from the field and missing his only three-point attempt.
Fultz worked hard over the summer with renowned skills trainer Drew Hanlen in order to refine his jumper, and thus far, the results have been mixed. Earlier this month, though, Hanlen revealed that the second-year player was still not 100 percent. It was reported by Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype on Nov. 12 that the two had split and were no longer on speaking terms after “their relationship deteriorated.”
To date, Fultz is averaging 8.2 points, 3.1 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game on 41.9 percent shooting from the field, including 28.6 percent from beyond the arc.
The Sixers won’t be nearly as dynamic in the pick-and-roll with Fultz banged up, but T.J. McConnell has proved he’s capable of filling in off the bench. Regardless, Ben Simmons and Jimmy Butler should do the majority of the ball-handling.