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Markelle Fultz has yet to be healthy enough to live up to his status as a former No. 1 overall draft pick, but he seems to like his odds with the Orlando Magic.
According to a report from Josh Robbins of The Athletic, Fultz has reached a new stage in his recovery from a mysterious shoulder/nerve injury and has shifted his rehab work to Orlando.
“I think it’s what’s best for me and the team,” Fultz said. “[It’s beneficial] just being around these guys, so they see my face and I see their face. I’m going to learn as much as I can. As we make this push for the playoffs, I want to be here with my guys and just support them.”
He later added, “Nobody here is rushing me. Everybody here is just open to me getting right and healthy first.”
Fultz is a 6-foot-4 guard and was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers with the top pick in 2017. But the shoulder injury has greatly hampered his pro career — a truth that resulted in the Sixers feeling comfortable enough to send him to the Magic at the February trade deadline.
He was forced to sit for much of his rookie season, appearing in just 14 games. Things weren’t much better this year, as Fultz has made just 19 appearances.
Fultz, 20, was going to struggle to see playing time following the Sixers’ trade for Jimmy Butler. Coincidentally, his injury flared up immediately after he was benched for the second half of a game in early December.
But he now insists the rehab and his spirits are on the up and up.
“It’s going great. I’m feeling really good. I’m happy. I’m blessed,” he said. “And as I’m going forward, I’m just sticking with the plan and just going through rehab.”
Magic coach Steve Clifford ruled out Fultz for the season earlier this month.