Report: Markelle Fultz Meeting with Doctors, Next Steps Decided Later in Week

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistNovember 26, 2018

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 19: Markelle Fultz #20 of the Philadelphia 76ers watches the game from the bench in the second quarter against the Phoenix Suns at the Wells Fargo Center on November 19, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 76ers defeated the Suns 119-114. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Philadelphia 76ers guard Markelle Fultz hasn't appeared in a game since last Monday, and he is reportedly multiple steps away from returning to the court.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the University of Washington product is meeting with specialists on Monday and again later in the week. Only after he does that will there be "a resolution on next steps" toward his return or a potential move. Wojnarowski added:

"Fultz, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft, has lost the ability to carry out and follow through on long jump shots, and there's been internal and external debate about how much of this perplexing circumstance is physical vs. mental."

With Fultz's playing situation in doubt, the 76ers have stopped "listening to trade overtures" on guard TJ McConnell, per Wojnarowski.

The Fultz saga has dominated headlines around the 76ers over the course of the last week, especially after David Aldridge of The Athletic reported the guard's agent, Raymond Brothers, said Fultz wouldn't play in games or practice until he sees a shoulder specialist.

Coach Brett Brown said that was the first "red-flag type news" about Fultz, per Keith Pompey of the Philly Inquirer, and Yaron Weitzman of Bleacher Report noted general manager Elton Brand was surprised when Brothers informed him as much.

Jared Weiss, Derek Bodner and Sam Amick of The Athletic reported Fultz had a wrist injury on top of the shoulder woes and wanted to be traded to another team, although Brothers denied the trade request and interest, per Wojnarowski.

According to Pompey, "Fultz is no longer in the Sixers' long-term plans. And they are no longer using his shoulder as an excuse for his performances."

It appeared as if Fultz would be a significant piece for Philadelphia after it selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft, but he played just 14 games as a rookie and averaged 7.1 points and 3.8 assists a night while attempting just one three-pointer on the season. The shoulder issues appeared to impact his shooting ability and willingness to even attempt jumpers. 

He has played 19 games this season, 15 of which were starts, and is averaging 8.2 points and 3.1 assists while shooting 4-of-14 (28.6 percent) from deep.

Even without him, the 76ers are on the short list of Eastern Conference title contenders. Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid represent two of the best young building blocks in the league, and the team acquired Jimmy Butler via trade. Butler already has two game-winning shots for the team in his seven contests.

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