HOUSTON — Markelle Fultz will take more time before he returns to the court. The question is, how much?
Fultz is out indefinitely because of soreness and scapular muscle imbalance in his right shoulder, the Sixers said Sunday. He will be reevaluated in approximately three weeks.
The 2017 No. 1 pick has been meeting with multiple specialists, all who have confirmed Fultz does not have structural damage. Fultz met Sunday with Dr. Ben Kibler, medical director of the Shoulder Center of Kentucky at the Lexington Clinic. Dr. Kibler will perform the next reevaluation. Prior to that visit, Fultz also met with two Major League Baseball team doctors.
Fultz has been hampered by his shoulder all season. He has been going through physiotherapy to treat it. The injury is unique in the sense there is no clear cause, a specific fall or collision on the court.
Add to that, the visible issue with Fultz’s shot, naming his free throws. Part of rehabbing his shoulder is determining if Fultz altered his form because of his shoulder, or if his shoulder pain impacted his shot.
"There was no medical reason not to play him," Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said Wednesday. "He was cleared to play and he wanted to play. That's why he was playing. His reluctance to shoot, obviously his shot mechanics have been affected by whatever's going on, or vice versa."
Fultz has appeared in four games this season (6.0 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists), all off the bench. The Sixers initially announced Wednesday he would miss three games and be reevaluated this coming Tuesday. He will continue his training with the team during this rehab period.
This news is the latest in the series of events surrounding Fultz’s shoulder this past week. Last Tuesday Fultz’s agent, Raymond Brothers, told ESPN Fultz had his shoulder drained. Hours later, Brothers said Fultz had received a cortisone shot. The following day, Colangelo stated, “Nothing's wrong with Markelle Fultz,” and that the team and Fultz had come to a mutual decision to sit out at least the next three games.
"No one's panicking inside. The sky's not falling," Colangelo said last week. "Markelle Fultz is going to be a great basketball player for this organization and we're confident that we're going to get this thing resolved."