Elton Brand 'Can't Say' If Markelle Fultz Will Return for 76ers This Season

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 23, 2018

Philadelphia 76ers general manager Elton Brand speaks with members of the media during a news conference at the NBA basketball team's practice facility in Camden, N.J., Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Matt Rourke/Associated Press

Philadelphia 76ers guard Markelle Fultz has been out since Nov. 19 with a shoulder injury, and it's currently unclear whether he will return during the 2018-19 season.

"I can't say right now," general manager Elton Brand said of Fultz's potential return, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com).

Brand said the decision is "to be determined" and there will be more clarity in "a few weeks."

There have been questions about the guard's health since he entered the league as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft. He was limited to just 14 games during his rookie season and has played 19 games this year, with an altered jump shot also being a significant concern even when he is on the court.

His agent announced earlier this month that Fultz has been diagnosed with neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome, which affects the nerves between his neck and his shoulder, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

If the 76ers believe he can get healthy and eventually live up to his lofty expectations, it might be smart to give him extra time to rehabilitate over the course of the season. Considering he is still just 20 years old in his second season, there is plenty of time for him to turn his career around.

On the other hand, the team is reportedly torn on whether to trade him this season, per Keith Pompey of the Inquirer.

Philadelphia could potentially showcase him before the Feb. 7 deadline, even before he is 100 percent.

The team will apparently use the next few weeks to evaluate its options and decide on the next course of action.