The Magic confirmed in their announcement that Fultz will miss the remainder of the 2020/21 season, as expected. His return next season will depend on how he responds to treatment and rehabilitation, per the club. If the ’21/22 regular season tips off in October, it’s possible the former No. 1 pick won’t be ready, since it often takes upwards of a year for players to return from major ACL injuries.
Fultz, 22, averaged a career-best 14.3 PPG and 6.1 APG in his seven healthy games this season, though his shooting percentages in the early going (.396 FG%, .250 3PT%) were well below his modest career rates.
Although Fultz faces a long recovery timeline, he at least won’t have to worry about dealing with restricted free agency during the summer of 2021, since he signed a three-year contract extension in December. That new deal will pay him a guaranteed $16.5MM salary both next season and in 2022/23.
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The Magic will also play the rest of the 2020/21 season without young cornerstone forward Jonathan Isaac, who suffered a torn ACL of his own. The team was granted a disabled player exception following Isaac’s injury and has applied for one to replace Fultz as well. Now that the point guard has undergone surgery and his recovery outlook is clearer, that application will likely be approved soon.