Southeast Notes: Fultz, Ball, Mensah, Wizards

After being upgraded to questionable for Friday’s game in Boston, Magic guard Markelle Fultz (left knee tendinitis) was ultimately ruled out for a 16th consecutive contest. As Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel tweets, Fultz has only gone through portions of practice this week, so the club wasn’t quite ready to clear him for game action.

Asked what went into the decision to rule out Fultz on Friday, head coach Jamahl Mosley explained: “Just being able to check to make sure he’s fully back to what we need him to do and getting full practices in with full contact. That’s going to be very important.”

Although his return didn’t happen on Friday and he didn’t take contact in Saturday’s practice, Fultz told reporters on Thursday that he thinks he’ll be back sooner rather than later, per Beede (subscription required). The former No. 1 overall pick said that he’s been “progressing great,” though he’s also on board with the team’s cautious approach to the injury.

“I’m thinking the long game here,” Fultz said. “I don’t want to come back in, play a few games and have to sit back out. When I’m back, I want to stay back for the long run.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • After announcing on December 8 that they’d reevaluate LaMelo Ball (right ankle sprain) in a week, the Hornets offered a very minor update on Friday, tweeting that the star guard has “continued progressing” in his conditioning and individual activities. Updates on his status will be provided “as appropriate,” the Hornets added. It doesn’t sound as if Ball has resumed practicing with the team or that his return is imminent.
  • After signing a two-way contract with the Hornets on Thursday, center Nathan Mensah was immediately thrust into a rotation role for the injury-plagued club, backing up Nick Richards at the five in Friday’s loss to New Orleans. Mensah fouled out in just 13 minutes of action but he grabbed seven rebounds and made a solid first impression, per Shane Connuck of The Charlotte Observer. “He did a great job,” Brandon Miller said. “His presence down there, I felt like he did a great job on the defensive side, just getting boards, some blocks. He’s gonna be great for us.”
  • Following this week’s announcement stating that the Wizards plan to move from the District of Columbia to Virginia, David Aldridge of The Athletic and Candace Buckner of The Washington Post published columns criticizing team owner Ted Leonsis for his handling of the situation and his treatment of the franchise’s long-time D.C. market.
  • In a pair of stories focusing on the Wizards‘ rebuilding process, Aldridge and Josh Robbins of The Athletic take a look at how the new front office is emphasizing “small wins” as part of its culture-building efforts and explore how the organization is attempting to improve its off-court infrastructure.
View Comments (4)