Markelle Fultz is not the only Sixers rookie dealing with a lingering injury this season.
Furkan Korkmaz has not played since Dec. 15 because of a Lisfranc injury in his left foot he suffered during a G-League game.
His first season in the NBA was planned to be one of development after he joined the Sixers via a buyout from Anadolu Efes in Turkey. The 20-year-old shooting guard was expected to spend time with the Sixers to learn about the league as well as be assigned to their G-League affiliate, the Sevens, to get on the court. That routine was stalled when Korkmaz, the No. 26 pick in the 2016 draft, was injured.
“I couldn’t walk for six weeks, so I was on a scooter,” Korkmaz said this week. “On that period I was doing some ball-handling stuff, I was doing some shooting, I lifted every day."
Furkan Korkmaz taking shots in a boot in rehab from injury. pic.twitter.com/vMysFUx9Mb— Jessica Camerato (@JCameratoNBCS) February 5, 2018
Korkmaz’s goal is to get as healthy as possible from what is the first long-term injury in his professional career, which began as a teenager in Europe. He has been doing 1-on-0 drills to this point. Korkmaz has yet to dunk the ball but has been cleared to jump.
He put on a three-point showcase prior to the Sixers’ game against the Heat Thursday, draining threes with a smooth release around the arc. Last season, Korkmaz shot 48.8 percent from long range at the Basketball Champions League, where he was named the Best Young Player.
Watch Furkan Korkmaz drain 8 straights threes. He did this from all around the arc. pic.twitter.com/3ELtwUJkOC— Jessica Camerato (@JCameratoNBCS) March 8, 2018
Korkmaz traveled with the Sixers on their recent road stretch to continue his rehab. After spending so much time back at the training complex in Camden, New Jersey, Korkmaz was eager to make the trip.
“I miss everybody,” Korkmaz said. “I miss the trips also because as a player we are used to doing all the trips.”
Oftentimes players work on different areas of their games when they are limited by injuries. In the case of Korkmaz, Brett Brown hopes Korkmaz’s familiarization with the league and learning how he runs the team is enhanced during this time. Being with the Sixers for an extended period of time on the road can help that.
“With any young guys, and especially foreign players, the NBA verbiage is different. My language is different,” Brown said. “The language and the rhythm beat of an NBA season and the rhythm beat of our communication methods and the words associated with that are crucial.”
Korkmaz said this injury taught him about the recovery process in the NBA. He quickly learned about staying patient throughout it, but he can’t wait to do what he came to Philadelphia to accomplish.
“I miss playing,” Korkmaz said. “It doesn’t matter when or where. But I want to play.”