Markelle Fultz Returns to 76ers vs. Nuggets After Shoulder Injury Recovery

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistMarch 26, 2018

Philadelphia 76ers guard Markelle Fultz during the first quarter of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics in Boston Monday, Oct. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Winslow Townson/Associated Press

The Philadelphia 76ers announced Monday that 2017 No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz was cleared to return from a 68-game absence because of a shoulder injury and would be available to play against the Denver Nuggets.

Chris Haynes of ESPN.com reported before the game Fultz wouldn't be on a minutes restriction but noted that "his fitness level and situation of game will dictate how much he plays."

After receiving a standing ovation upon entering the game, Fultz played 14 minutes in the 76ers' 123-104 win at Wells Fargo Center. He scored 10 points on 5-of-13 shooting from the floor while dishing out eight assists and snagging four rebounds.

The team ruled Fultz out indefinitely in October because of soreness and a scapular muscle imbalance in his right shoulder.

While Fultz didn't have any kind of structural damage, the Sixers opted to bring him along slowly after his first four regular-season appearances. During those games, he displayed adjusted shooting mechanics that looked far different from the ones he flashed as a freshman phenom at the University of Washington.

Before hitting the shelf, Fultz averaged 6.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists while shooting 33.3 percent from the field and 6-of-12 from the free-throw line.

Back in November, an Eastern Conference general manager told Bleacher Report's Ken Berger that the situation with Fultz's shoulder issue was "not normal" and "perplexing."

Now that the 19-year-old has returned, he should be motivated to erase memories of the early-season shooting struggles that have come to define his brief time in the Association.

If Fultz can do that, he could play a big role during the Sixers' first postseason appearance since 2012.

Related

    LeBron: 'I Kneel With' Kap

    NBA logo
    NBA

    LeBron: 'I Kneel With' Kap

    Adam Wells
    via Bleacher Report

    Dirk Not Set on Retirement

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Dirk Not Set on Retirement

    Adam Wells
    via Bleacher Report

    JoJo Ready to End Feud, Russ...Not So Much 😳

    NBA logo
    NBA

    JoJo Ready to End Feud, Russ...Not So Much 😳

    Tyler Conway
    via Bleacher Report

    Predicting NBA All-Stars in 5 Years

    Philadelphia 76ers logo
    Philadelphia 76ers

    Predicting NBA All-Stars in 5 Years

    Zach Buckley
    via Bleacher Report