Markelle Fultz: Shoulder Injury Recovery 'Going Great' Since Magic Trade

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 20, 2019

ORLANDO, FL - FEBRUARY 14: Markelle Fultz speaks to the media during the press conference on February 14, 2019 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)
Fernando Medina/Getty Images

Injuries have hampered No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz's NBA career, with thoracic outlet syndrome currently keeping the Orlando Magic guard off the court.

However, the 20-year-old offered a positive update to Josh Robbins of The Athletic on Tuesday.

"It's going great," Fultz told Robbins. "I'm feeling really good. I'm happy. I'm blessed. And as I'm going forward, I'm just sticking with the plan and just going through rehab."

For his part, Fultz is pleased with his daily progress.

"I'm definitely getting better each and every day," Fultz said. "That's what a lot of people didn't know about TOS: It's very tricky, and the pain is different for different people. But that's what I'm working on now in rehab: just getting better each and every day. And the progression that I'm making is very good."

Robbins reported that there is no return timeline for Fultz, who the Philadelphia 76ers traded to Orlando on February 7 for Jonathan Simmons and two draft picks. However, the ex-University of Washington star will be going to team practices and games.

Fultz is pleased that Orlando isn't looking to get him back as soon as possible.

"Get right, and everything will take care of itself," he said. "Nobody here is rushing me. Everybody here is just open to me getting right and healthy first."

Those sentiments likely squash any hope of Fultz returning to the team for the regular-season stretch run or playoffs should the 33-38 Magic hop over the 34-36 Miami Heat for the final Eastern Conference postseason spot.

However, that's not particularly important. Fultz is part of an Orlando future built around a young core of Aaron Gordon, Mo Bamba and Jonathan Isaac, all of whom were top-10 overall draft picks.

Current Magic All-Star center Nikola Vucevic may not be part of that future given his upcoming free agency, so the team will need players to somehow make up for this excellent per-game production of 20.7 points, 12.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists.

Fultz would likely play a part of that given his ability to stuff the stat sheet when healthy, as he notably dropped a 13-point triple-double in 25 minutes versus the Milwaukee Bucks last year.

Therefore, Orlando's best bet is to look toward 2019-20 and hope that Fultz is 100 percent for the season. With current starting point guard D.J. Augustin's contract running out in 2020, Fultz could be in line to be the team's starting floor general shortly.

The Maryland native has played 33 regular-season contests in his career and averaged 7.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 20.6 minutes per game.

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