It has been over a month since Sixers fans last heard about the injury status of this year’s first overall pick, Markelle Fultz, so everyone was anxious to hear the news of a positive update on his progress.
The Sixers announced last Sunday that Fultz is progressing well from his right shoulder soreness and scapular muscle imbalance that has kept him sidelined since October 23. They team also said they will reevaluate him in two-three weeks again, which places the timetable for his return at about mid-December.
As many fans remember, all of this stems back to training camp when the public witnessed his drastically, and quite frankly ugly, new shooting form. It was a major change from the form that he had used to shoot nearly 41 percent from three and 65 percent from the foul line during his season at the University of Washington. Once the regular season came around, it was unsettling to see Fultz, who’s collegiate highlight videos featured a great deal of pull up three pointers with defenders in his face, seemingly not even thinking about pulling up for a wide open jump shot. Once news came out of his injury and the cortisone shots he had received, the miserable past of this Sixers organization dealing with injuries so irresponsibly began to rear its ugly head again. Luckily, it seems that they now have a plan to get Fultz back to full health and have him ready to contribute to this already exciting squad.
It will be interesting to see his role on the team both when he first returns and later on as the season progresses. He will definitely see minutes off the bench when he initially returns to the team, especially with the droughts that the team seems to go through in every game when Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are not on the court. He can provide both scoring and defense to make up for their absences during rest or foul trouble. As far as a starting role goes, barring an injury to one of the starters (God forbid), it will be tough for him to be out there for the opening tip with Robert Covington playing the best basketball of his career and fresh off a new contract extension, J.J. Redick’s veteran presence along with his elite three-point shooting ability. Not to mention Ben Simmons being Ben Simmons. Fultz should continue to be the top man off the bench for a good portion of the year going forward.
In the end, Sixers fans should be ecstatic to have the top pick in the draft join this already extremely talented team and help them get better. The team could really take off and be a serious threat in the NBA come January.