Clifford: Magic Don’t Expect Fultz To Play This Season

When the Magic acquired Markelle Fultz from the Sixers at the trade deadline last month, reports indicated that the team would be patient with the former No. 1 pick, who was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome and ruled out indefinitely in December.

Head coach Steve Clifford confirmed as much during an appearance on SiriusXM NBA Radio on Monday, indicating that the team doesn’t expect Fultz to play this season (audio link).

“I don’t think so,” Clifford said, when asked if we’d see Fultz again in 2018/19. “He’s still actually rehabbing his shoulder, and he’s not even able to really do much on the floor yet. It’s a pretty significant shoulder injury, and I would say he’s starting to do a little bit, but it would be very difficult for him to get back this year.”

After being limited to just 14 games in his rookie season in Philadelphia, Fultz appeared in 19 contests for the Sixers in 2018/19, averaging 8.2 PPG, 3.7 RPG, and 3.1 APG. He continued to struggle with his shot, posting a line of .419/.286/.568 and displaying unusual form on free throws, leading to the new diagnosis of his shoulder issue.

Despite Fultz’s struggles in his first two seasons, the Magic remain high on 2017’s top pick, who is still just 20 years old. Orlando surrendered Jonathon Simmons and a pair of future draft picks for Fultz in February, even though the team recognized he was unlikely to contribute this season.

D.J. Augustin has been a fairly steady presence at the point for Orlando this season, posting 11.5 PPG and 4.9 APG on .473/.436/.858 shooting. However, the backup production from Isaiah Briscoe and Jerian Grant has been inconsistent. Nonetheless, with Fultz not expected to be ready to return until next season, the Magic will have to continue to rely on Briscoe and/or Grant or turn to the free agent market for help as they attempt to secure a playoff spot.

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9 thoughts on “Clifford: Magic Don’t Expect Fultz To Play This Season

  1. mcgovern92003

    As a Sixers fan, this is annoying.
    Raymond Brothers stated many months back that this was a “3-6 week injury,” what a total joke!
    Also, Clifford provided more details/acknowledged more info in those 2 sentences than the Sixers ever did in his time here.

  2. whodatcoon

    Totally agree with their strategy. Get some positive results before you put Fultz on the floor. With a fixes shot Fultz would be great, if a fix isn’t in the cards.. Well the took a gamble knowing there was a risk/reward.

  3. Ptn18

    Saw an article yesterday at Adam Silver’s conference in Boston, saying the guys in the NBA aren’t happy, and money isn’t everything. He talked about Kevin Love, and pretty much said the media is driving the players wacky.

  4. x%sure

    If Orlando falls short, the Fultz trade did it. Weltman/Hammonds traded for a future maybe instead of a current fix. This does not send the right message to the players in the present, and they lost 2 draft picks for the future.

    Fortunately they play in the EC & are a half-game up on MIA & CHA for the 8th spot.

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