CHARLOTTE, N.C. — With 19 games left before the start of the playoffs, Brett Brown said the Sixers have not set a cutoff date for Markelle Fultz to either return or sit out the remainder of the season.
"It's all internal discussions we're going through right now and just trying to accurately assess his situation,” Brown said Tuesday before the Sixers played the Hornets. “And we're discussing that as we speak."
Fultz, the No. 1 pick in the 2017 draft, has not played since Oct. 23 because of a right shoulder injury.
A return seems more unlikely than likely this late in the season. Fultz would have to make up a lot of ground being reworked into the mix — especially since he would have the ball in his hands — and simply getting back into game-playing condition, a transition for players returning from long-term injuries.
The Sixers also are tightening up rotations as they gear up for the postseason while integrating Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova into the second unit. The Sixers signed the two veterans to bolster the bench, which has lacked scoring. Fultz began the season in a sixth-man role.
Fultz's shooting range has been limited in his rehab, but on Tuesday he worked on his three-point shot in drills following shootaround. Fultz, who shot 41.3 percent from three in college, looked more fluid in his release. He put up shots in different locations around the arc with T.J. McConnell and Ben Simmons, and also took corner threes by himself.
"I think he's getting better,” Brown said of Fultz’s long-range progress. “I think it looks like it's getting more comfortable."
Here’s a Markelle Fultz 3 from Charlotte: pic.twitter.com/PBfbajsRSR— Jessica Camerato (@JCameratoNBCS) March 6, 2018
Here’s another look at Fultz 3s: pic.twitter.com/Uitqw4nd1Z— Jessica Camerato (@JCameratoNBCS) March 6, 2018
Fultz has shown his speed, strength and ability to dunk in pregame drills throughout the season. On the same day he shot treys, Fultz also got up for this slam.
Markelle Fultz elevating pregame: pic.twitter.com/C4OXqR2HRt— Jessica Camerato (@JCameratoNBCS) March 6, 2018
“He really does something with the basketball that no other player with the exception maybe of Ben can do with a live ball,” Brown said.
Fultz has been traveling with the Sixers and staying integrated with the team while dealing with his injury.
"He's such good people," Brown said. "To find hints of success in relation to he's improving, and he feels it, that's where my heart is."