Markelle Fultz Out Indefinitely With Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

7:13 pm: With the Sixers’ support, Fultz will work with renowned physical therapist Judy Seto, who formally was employed by the Lakers, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. Seto has previously worked with Kobe Bryant and Sixers GM Elton Brand when they both were in the NBA.

4:17 pm: Markelle Fultz has been diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, according to a team press release. The condition involves compression or irritation in the thoracic outlet (the area between the lower neck and upper chest).

Fultz is expected to undergo physical therapy and he is out indefinitely. Fultz’s agent, Raymond Brothers, emphasizes that the ailment is a physical injury.

“Markelle [Fultz] has been diagnosed with Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, [TOS], a physical injury. TOS affects nerves between the neck and shoulder resulting in abnormal functional movement and range of motion, thus severely limiting Markelle’s ability to shoot a basketball,” Brothers said (via Adrian Wojnarowski’s Twitter feed). “TOS is treatable by physical therapy.”

Wojnarowski hears (Twitter links) that there’s optimism with the Sixers organization that Fultz can return to the court in three-to-six weeks. The timetable will ultimately depend on the success of rehab.

Brothers tells Wojnarowski that he is strongly confident that the rehab will address Fultz’ shooting issues. The rehabilitation will begin in Los Angeles, away from the Sixers.

Fultz has seen upwards of 10 specialists since the start of last offseason, a team source tells Sarah Todd of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). His appointment today was reportedly the first time that doctors recommended that Fultz should not play.

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39 thoughts on “Markelle Fultz Out Indefinitely With Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

  1. LivingUnderDaBridge

    Man they are gonna try every old excuse huh? This is a great diagnosis as it is impossible for anyone else to truly say that it is healed or not. Meaning he can continue to have an excuse for poor play.

    • Z-A

      Or not play at all, does still set up for my hypothesis… “well never know he was injured” so he isnt in the Bennett conversation as biggest bust ever. But well see how rehab goes.

      • C-Daddy

        I think being the “biggest bust” is strongly dependent on the strength of the draft class and who was taken later in the draft. So I wouldn’t say that Anthony Bennett is the biggest bust ever – the 2013 draft class, with the exception of a few good players (Giannis, Oladipo, Gobert, Steven Adams, etc.), was terrible. Everyone drafted in the top 10 that year other than Oladipo has had a mediocre career. I think Darko (drafted 2nd ahead of Carmelo, Bosh, and Wade in 2003) might be the biggest bust ever, at least in recent memory.

        • Z-A

          #1 overall pick bust. There are tons of lottery pick busts too many could lay claim to biggest bust ever based on who went after them.

    • darylict

      I think the surgery can be risky, so is a last resort- Matt Harvey rehabbed for quite some time before finally having the surgery

  2. Z-A

    The most googled term in the last hour: Neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome

    I guess I will have to walk back my hate. I said if it were due to injury thats a different story and appears to be on the surface a legitimate injury/issue.

    However the contradiction is the immediate trade request rumors that were probably something his camp put out there to trigger a market reaction and get Brands phone buzzing.

    By the end of year 3, who will have been a better contract? Bayless 3/27 or Fultz 3/25 and a 2019 1st round lottery pick?

  3. x%sure

    Dr. x%sure, from the previous Fultz article:

    “It’s not his shoulder, wrist, thumb or head. It’s in his twitch, his CNS, his central nervous system.”

      • x%sure

        So. . . close. I see the definition of CNS includes only the brain and spinal cord, under the assumption that while nerve-bundles can trigger local movements, they presumably cannot coordinate across the system.
        There’s a lot to discover about nerves though. *If I were in charge*, nerve research would get more funding, cancer less. We have many cancer treatments already, hundreds.

  4. MiddleIn

    This is total bullshit. They found THEIR specialist $$$$. Interesting how he took 647,000 shots this summer and dunked the ball another 20,000 times with thoracic outlet syndrome. He has full range of motion and strength when he windmill dunks. I wonder if the 76ers team physicians will concur. They picked is the most nebulous diagnosis and it gives him the ability to make excuses when he cannot shoot the ball.

    • 215to404

      Sounds like you were there when he got his diagnosis. Tell us more about it

      • Z-A

        So far, anything someone says on here you chime in with “well were you there?” When you tell ‘funny stories’ to people do you always end them with “well I guess you had to be there”…?

    • darylict

      The 647,000 shots he took is possibly what caused it. I see mostly pitchers getting diagnosed with this – likely a repetitive motion cause

      • Tmandolfan

        Ummm can you name another college or NBA player with the same diagnosis? Because they all practice shooting every single day.

  5. Lefty_Orioles_Fan

    The Sixers could have drafted Dennis Smith, Jr., but Nooooooooo, Colangelo and company knew better!!! What a bunch of BS!!! They tanked, they got all those draft choices and so called ‘Hot Assets’ and the only one who really turned out was Embiid!

    • PeeWeeHerron618

      he said DSJ lol out of everybody in that draft class, stop it wasn’t nobody taken DSJ #1

    • Z-A

      Dennis Smith was never going to go Top-3. If the Sixers had done the move I wanted outside of standing pat and taking Fultz/Tatum, they could have traded back to 5 and 10. Not sure how their board was shaped, they still could have went Monk, Isaac, or Smith Jr.

  6. Reflect

    This is a rare injury in basketball (and in general), so it makes sense that it took this long to diagnose.

    On the other hand, when you have that kind of money, it’s not hard to find a random doctor willing to say what you want them to say.

    It’s probably legit though.

  7. Otogar

    Sounds strange. I’d say the kid would need to take some time off and a fresh start somewhere away from the spotlight. And probably a new agent too.

    • Z-A

      An actual agent would help. Look at the list of players Raymond Brothers reps. It’s not exactly a list that excites me. It’s all journeymen. Even Butler/Randloph are.

  8. dust44

    I literally thought it was rotator cuff related. I used to get something when I was playing in college and overseas where my shoulder would start clicking and the next day I couldn’t raise my hand over my head. It was called something weird I can’t remember. But it sucked

  9. Z-A

    Devon Givens – “I dont buy it” ‘hope he gets his mental issues figured out’ lol. Prob thinks he flipped though a 1st year’s medical textbook until it made sense.

  10. TheMilkman

    Blah, blah, blah! No one cares about the self-serving diagnosis. Just get him out! He is destined to be a wealthy loser. Good for him. Bad for wherever he goes.

  11. DynamiteAdams

    How did this develop though. This condition happens to about 200000 Americans a year and you mean to tell me the #1 prospect in the draft suddenly develops this over the summer. I’m not buying it. There’s more here.

    • x%sure

      It’s not usually a problem until one’s 20s. But then, most frequently with women…

      The therapy he will probably get will encourage more upright posture. But that might hurt his D! :D

      • x%sure

        I always think interest groups tend to exagerrate the scale of their groups of interest…
        On the other hand, what hurts a few a lot, could hurt a lot a little– and we may not know it if so. Like Gluten or peanuts.

  12. paladin

    After ten different doctors he finally found one that gives him a diagnosis that buys him some time to work this thing out whether it is really an injury or something between the ears. He has a look of ”Deer caught in the headlights look about himself ”. The NBA spotlight might be too bright for this 20 year old no matter where he plays. Maybe down the road a piece he finds a personal epiphany gets it figured out. Anyway, he bought himself a weeks/months to ”Stop the world, I need to get off” moment. Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome medically sounds so much better than Neurogenic Thoracic Choke Syndrome. The organization, teammates & even the fans have given him support so I hope he and his agent handle the retreat from Philly demand amicable in the future as I do not see Markelle making it in Philly. That years draft class is looking weaker & weaker the more the season goes along. Lonzo has multiple issues and is avg at best. Tatum & D Mitchell are the only ones doing anything.

  13. What’s wrong with people? The kid’s shoulder isn’t working right and hasn’t been working right for awhile. The fact that it’s not a disease that shows in a blood test or an injury that shows on an x-ray or MRI doesn’t make it less serious. He was firmly diagnosed last year with a muscle imbalance of the shoulder blade, which was measured by a physical exam. That’s a condition that is REAL and sometimes very serious longer term, sometimes not. Either way, nobody can link that to his mental state or confidence or the like. They didn’t identify what caused it, which only means it wasn’t something they could identify (like a muscle tear). Nobody is going to say nerve damage, when it might just be a nerve reaction that would subside, but with no trauma it was pointing there. This diagnosis of TOS is symptoms based, so – yeah – people can question whether he forced his doctors to put a name on his condition. But so what? The point is that he has a real nerve condition in his shoulder that prevents him from using it in the manner needed to play basketball, and it isn’t just going to go away by giving it time while playing basketball. Honestly, it might not go away with just therapy or surgery. But that’s the next step and he’s taking it.

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