It’s about damn time.
Markelle Fultz has been playing through a shoulder injury, a setback that has also, it seems, caused him to adjust his shooting motion. The returns, naturally, have not been good, which left many people to wonder why the Philadelphia 76ers didn’t see a problem with playing him.
Crap hit the fan late Tuesday night when his agent, Raymond Brothers, expressed to ESPN.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski how much “discomfort” his client was in. Though he needed to clarify his comments, it’s clear Fultz and the organization weren’t entirely on the same page or acting in concert. Why would Brothers go on record if that were the case?
The situation reached a head on Wednesday, with the team announcing Fultz would miss the next three games, per Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia:
Fultz is out tonight and the next two games on the road. He'll be re-evaluated next Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/qJX6au5oBf
— Jessica Camerato (@JCameratoNBCS) October 25, 2017
Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo offered the following explanation on why Fultz was playing at all, via Camerato:
“I think that it’s appropriate to take a step back, let him take a breath and get him healthy and ready to resume play hopefully next week,” Colangelo said Wednesday morning, the day after Fultz’s agent Raymond Brothers spoke to ESPN about Fultz’s health.
Fultz has had “a couple” of scans and ultrasounds, Colangelo said, and he does not have structural damage. Fultz most recently met with a shoulder expert Tuesday who has worked with baseball players. Fultz has received a cortisone shot, is doing physiotherapy treatment and is being monitored daily by the Sixers.
“Nothing’s wrong with Markelle Fultz,” Colangelo said.
Nothing is wrong with Markelle Fultz….except, you know, his shoulder is out of whack.
This situation could not have been handled in worse fashion. The Sixers have never been beacons of transparency, but you’d think after dealing with major injuries to Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons they’d have better practice at both talking about them and internally handling.
Fultz shouldn’t have been playing. It’s that simple. It doesn’t matter whether he wanted to play, or if he insisted on playing. He’s a 19-year-old cornerstone, and the tiniest red flag warranted rest and rehabilitation—the kind Sixers fans can only hope he’ll get now.