Magic guard Markelle Fultz, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2017 draft, could make his 2022/23 season debut on Sunday against the Sixers, per Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel (subscription required).
The 24-year-old has missed the first 19 games of the season after fracturing his left big toe in late September, right before training camp opened. However, he was able to practice on Wednesday and he’s been upgraded from out to questionable for Sunday’s game, as Price relays.
A couple weeks ago, Price reported that Fultz hoped to return in the next three-to-four weeks, so a Sunday return would be a little ahead of schedule for that timeline. Still, he’s only listed as questionable, not probable or available, so there’s no guarantee that he’ll actually play, though it’s certainly encouraging that his return appears imminent.
Injuries have been a major factor in Fultz’s career, limiting him to just 131 games over five-plus seasons, including 18 in ’21/22 after recovering from a torn ACL. He averaged 10.8 points, 2.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.1 steals in 20.0 minutes last season.
Fultz will earn a guaranteed $16.5MM this season, but his $17MM salary for ’23/24 is only partially guaranteed at $2MM, so how he performs upon his return will likely have a significant impact on whether he’s in Orlando’s future plans. The Magic have dealt with a number of injuries to key rotation players this season and are currently 5-14, the third-worst record in the NBA.