Markelle Fultz will miss at least the next three games due to shoulder soreness, the Philadelphia 76ers announced Wednesday. The guard, who was picked No. 1 in last June's draft, will be reevaluated next Tuesday.
Shortly after the official announcement, Sixers president Bryan Colangelo told reporters that Fultz'scould have contributed to his shoulder issues, via The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor:
Bryan Colangelo just implied Markelle Fultz trying to change his shooting mechanics sometime in August might've caused the shoulder problem.— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) October 25, 2017
Colangelo's claim is important because it was thought that the shoulder problems caused him to shoot like Shaq, not the other way around. On Tuesday, Fultz's agent, Raymond Brothers, told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski that the rookie had been experiencing discomfort in his shoulder and had a cortisone shot on Oct. 5, after the first game of the preseason.
"He literally cannot raise up his arms to shoot the basketball," Brothers said. "He decided to try and fight through the pain to help the team. He has a great attitude. We are committed to finding a solution to get Markelle back to 100 percent."
Naturally, this resulted infor how it handled this situation. If Fultz is too hurt to shoot the ball, then why is he playing? Colangelo's comment places some of the blame back on Fultz, rather than the organization.
If there is a takeaway from this strange situation, it is that it can help to be transparent about injuries, even if the player or team has reasons for not wanting the public -- or opponents -- from knowing what is going on. In this particular case, it was obvious that something was awry, and Sixers observers have been left confused for weeks. There are still conflicting stories here, and perhaps the truth is somewhere in between -- maybe Fultz tweaked his mechanics for reasons unrelated to his shoulder, then the pain started and it devolved into the messy form we've seen early in his first season.
Regardless of what happened, it is apparent that sitting out is the best course of action for now. If you force yourself to ignore his free-throw form and the fact that he has been afraid to shoot jumpers, then there are encouraging signs in his first few games. It would be nice if, when he is back on the court, he looks more like the player who was fantastic at Washington and impressed at summer league.
And who knows, maybe he'll eventually be better for all this? After all, LeBron James told ESPN's Dave McMenamin that an elbow injury in the offseason actually helped him improve his form.