The story so far…
After a decorated high school career and a so-so one-and-done freshman year with the Washington Huskies, the Philadelphia 76ers (#3) swapped draft positions with the Boston Celtics (#1) prior to the 2017 National Basketball Association (NBA) Draft in order to select heralded 6’3″ point guard Markelle N’Gai Fultz.
On paper, Bryan Colangelo–then the 76ers President of Basketball Operations–had assembled a young, talented, and exciting team[i] with Fultz being groomed as one of its pillars. But after only four games to start the 2017-2018 NBA regular season, it was reported that Markelle Fultz would be out indefinitely due to “shoulder soreness and scapular muscle imbalance.”
The injury was described to be so severe that ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was quoted as saying, “(Fultz) literally (could not) raise up his arms to shoot the basketball.” In mid-March 2018, after a great deal of speculation surrounding his health, Markelle Fultz rejoined the 76ers and even posted a triple-double (13 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists in 25 minutes) on the last day of the regular season to become the youngest ever to accomplish the feat (19 years and 317 days).
Markelle Fultz opened his sophomore season as the 76ers starting shooting guard before losing his position to newly acquired Jimmy Butler. Shortly after, Fultz went on indefinite leave from the 76ers in order to care for his ailing right shooting shoulder–diagnosed a neck and shoulder injury called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS).
A better understanding
Whenever Markelle Fultz would come up in conversations with other basketball aficionados, I have to admit, I was highly critical for one reason or another. But when I started developing my own shoulder problems late last year, I started to become more sympathetic to Markelle’s health situation.
It is simply no laughing matter.
Neck and shoulder injuries are probably the worst as one would never know when it will truly resolve itself. It is true what they say, “No one knows your body more than you.” Imagine waking up and not being able to feel your arm for a couple of minutes. To eventually regain some sensation down to your fingertips but know that it still doesn’t feel right. To not have the same kind of pushing power that you once had.
These are just some of my current challenges as I continue to rehab my own injury.
So…be more sympathetic for what Markelle is going though. It’s no joke. It is a legitimate injury and I wish him only the best on his road to recovery.
[i] Featuring other blue chip talent in center Joel Embiid and versatile guard-forward Ben Simmons–who at that point had yet to play in an NBA regular season game due to an injury that he sustained the season before.
[ii] Or have that “dead feeling” engulf your entire arm. Imagine a car shifting into 4th gear but isn’t going as fast as you’d expect it to. That’s how my arm feels sometimes.