Philadelphia 76ers second-year guard Markelle Fultz is meeting with shoulder specialists on Monday, according to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Per the report, there isn’t expected to be a resolution to the issue until later in the week. This is a confirmation of David Aldridge‘s initial report last week that Fultz wanted to see a doctor about his continuing shoulder issue, and would not participate in practices or games until he underwent an evaluation.
While Fultz will remain out of the lineup, the rest of his 76ers teammates will be back in action on Wednesday night when they host the New York Knicks at the Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m. ET — watch on fuboTV with the NBA TV extension).
Fultz, the first overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft, missed 69 games during his rookie campaign due to an offseason shoulder injury and the resulting collapse of his shooting stroke and on-court confidence. Heading into this season, he was deemed healthy and inserted into the Sixers starting lineup.
However, once the team added four-time All-Star Jimmy Butler via trade, Fultz was bumped back to a reserve role. Last Monday night, Fultz played just seven minutes against the Phoenix Suns and didn’t appear in the second half, as T.J. McConnell got the minutes that would have normally gone to Fultz.
While some have suggested that Fultz’s struggles are mental, he has been adamant that they are the result of physical injury.
“What happened last year was an injury,” Fultz said at Sixers media day in September. “Let me get that straight. It was an injury that happened that didn’t allow me to go through the certain paths that I needed to, to shoot the ball.
“Just like any normal person, when you’re used to doing something the same way each and every day and something happens, of course, you’re going to start thinking about it. It’s just normal.”
Fultz spent the summer getting up thousands and thousands of shots a day in hopes of returning his form to its pre-Sixers state.
“This summer was one of my most hard-working summers,” Fultz said. “Everybody knows what happened last year, so this summer was really just me working to get my mechanics back, my confidence back, my swagger back. It was a very productive summer.
“I had a lot of motivation going into the summer. Last year I had an injury that stopped me from being myself a hundred percent… I’m very confident going into the season.”
Despite all of the work he put in over the offseason, something is still clearly off with Fultz when it comes to shooting the basketball. On the season he is shooting just 41% from the field, 28% from three, and 57% from the foul line.