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Magic's Markelle Fultz out for season with torn ACL in left knee

Orlando point guard Markelle Fultz was carried off the court and an MRI later confirmed the devastating injury.

From News Services

Markelle Fultz goes down with leg injury in the first quarter.

Orlando point guard Markelle Fultz will miss the rest of the season after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee, the team announced on Wednesday.

Fultz was carried off the court after suffering a non-contact left knee injury in the first quarter of the Magic’s game against Cleveland and later received an MRI that confirmed the injury.

Fultz was driving in the lane when he crumpled to the floor after planting on his left leg. The fourth-year point guard was noticeably upset, slapping the floor while grabbing at his knee before being helped off the court.

Fultz was off to the best start of his career, averaging 14.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 6.1 assists while helping Orlando to a 5-2 record.

“It’s a huge blow for us,” said Magic center Nikola Vucevic, whose team also will be without standout forward Jonathan Isaac this season because of an ACL tear. “Unfortunately for (Fultz) this is really sad because for two years he had the injury with his shoulder, then last year he finally got to play and this year it was supposed to be a big year for him. He was ready and he started the season out awesome. This really sucks for a guy like him who has worked his way back. It’s hard to see and you feel for the guy.”

Fultz signed a three-year, $50 million extension last month and was finally showing the promise that made him the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft as he led the Magic to a quick start this season. He came in averaging a career-best 14-3 points in seven games.

Fultz was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers as part of their lengthy rebuild but struggled for years with a difficult-to-diagnose shoulder injury ultimately determined to be thoracic outlet syndrome, a nerve ailment that affected the feeling in his arm and hand. He was traded to the Magic in February 2019.

Rookie Cole Anthony, who had eight points, four rebounds and three assists on Wednesday, will now be the starter at point guard for the Magic.

“This is part of the league. It happens, people get hurt,” Magic guard Terrence Ross said. “We play a lot and go through a lot and people get hurt. We’ve still got to keep playing ball. We have a way to play and we can’t let the whole season fall or collapse because of a couple of injuries.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.