Fultz Rejoins Magic, Continues Rehabilitation at Amway Center
Recently acquired point guard happy to be around teammates
ORLANDO – In an effort to help him begin his assimilation with the Orlando Magic, his new teammates and his new surroundings, point guard Markelle Fultz rejoined the franchise on Tuesday and will continue his rehabilitation at the team’s Amway Center headquarters.
Fultz, who the Magic traded for on Feb. 7, is out of action because of thoracic outlet syndrome – an impingement issue in either the blood vessels or nerves that run through a specific space between the neck and shoulders – and has been going through rehabilitation exercises previously in Los Angeles. There still is no timetable for Fultz’s return.
``Man, it’s unbelievable and I’m just glad to be able to be here to support these guys as we push for the playoffs and try to learn as much as I can as I’m watching from the sidelines,’’ Fultz said of being around his Magic teammates for a third time since being acquired in a trade. ``I think it’s what’s best for me and the team. Like I said, just being around these guys so they see my face and I see their faces. And I can learn as much as I can as we make this push for the playoffs, I want to be here with my guys and support them.’’
Fultz, 20, was the No. 1 pick of the 2017 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, but he has played just 33 games over the past two seasons – 14 last year and 19 this year – because of wrist and shoulder injuries. He averaged 8.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists earlier this season with the Sixers, but he hasn’t played an NBA game since Nov. 19. He has spent much of the past four months in Los Angeles working with Los Angeles-based therapist Judy Seto, formerly the Head Physical Therapist of the Los Angeles Lakers and currently a consultant with Major League Baseball’s Dodgers. Magic President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman visited Fultz in L.A., as did several staffers on the medical team to assist with his rehabilitation upon his return to Orlando.
Fultz raved about the improvement he’s made physically and said he’s gradually being allowed to do more and more work on the basketball court in addition to his rehabilitation work.
``It’s going great, I’m feeling really good and I’m happy and blessed,’’ Fultz said. ``As I’m going forward, I’m just sticking with the plan and going through the rehab. … I’m just doing rehab and a little bit of stuff on-court. I’m keeping it pretty basic and sticking to the rehab part. I’m doing a lot of conditioning and a lot of stuff on the court.’’
The Magic (33-38) have just 11 games remaining in the regular season. Orlando, which hosts the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night, came into Tuesday in ninth in the Eastern Conference and 1½ games back of the rival Miami Heat for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.
Fultz said being back around the Magic will help ease some of his frustration of being away from basketball. He wants to do whatever he can to help Orlando reach the postseason, while also preparing himself for his return to action in the future.
``Man, I’m just a guy that loves the game of basketball and I miss it a lot,’’ Fultz said. ``Just being here and being around the guys, and hearing the basketballs bounce and getting yelled at – everything from that – it’s just bringing joy back and the love that I have for the game (back). It’s just good to be back.’’
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