Philadelphia 76ers: Markelle Fultz out indefinitely with a shoulder injury

(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

After playing through a shoulder injury for the first four games of the season, The Philadelphia 76ers will be without Markelle Fultz for the next 2-3 weeks.

I imagine Markelle Futz didn’t expect his career as a Philadelphia 76ers to start off like this.

After being selected first overall in the 2017 NBA Draft, the former Washington Huskie was viewed as a perfect fit for Brett Browns up-tempo offensive philosophy and looked destined to form a new big-three with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons the likes of which could shake up the Eastern Conference and the leagues as a whole. But so far, that hasn’t been the case.

After showing out fairly well in the summer league, Fultz suffered a shoulder injury that prematurely ended his preseason, and has haunted his game to this day. Once considered a pure, knock-down shooter, Fultz has since completed only 33-percent of his shots from the field and has failed to make a three-point shot as a pro. While under obvious pain every time he raised his arm, the 19-year old combo guard’s game has become incredibly one-dimensional.

And at times, it’s been downright painful to watch.

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While the 76ers, for the most part, have played off Fultz’s injury to the media, his camp issued a statement clarifying that the former Huskie had gone to a specialist to have fluid drained from his ailing shoulder. As more conflicting information leaked out from both side, the decision was ultimately made to give Fultz a three-game sabbatical to hopefully allow his shoulder to heal. But after only two games, the prognosis took a turn for the worse, and Fultz has now been downgraded to out for the foreseeable future.

And honestly, it’s for the best.

After being so careful with other injured players, like Embiid, Simmons and ex-Sixer Nerlens Noel to name a few, it’s incredibly perplexing why Fultz was allowed to log major minutes while obviously not at full health. Whether it be a desire to avoid another top-pick missing substantial playing time due to injury, or a belief that his injury couldn’t worsen with playing time, it seems incredibly short-sighted to risk Fultz’s future potential by playing him injured.

Historically, shooters take time to translate their game from the college level to the pros and if they become discouraged by a lack of initial success, it can lead to long-term confidence problems and a dear-in-headlights mentality.

Cough, Nik Stauskas, cough.

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While it would be amazing to finally see Fultz, Embiid, and Simmons playing together at a high level in Coach Brown’s starting five, it’s much more important that the trio of players continue to develop into the superstars they’re projected to become. Until Fultz is totally healthy, it’s probably a good idea to exercise caution with his return to the team, as his James Harden like potential is worth waiting for.