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Markelle Fultz enters final stage of injury rehabilitation work

Four games into the 2017-18 season, the Philadelphia 76ers shut down rookie guard Markelle Fultz to deal with issues in his right shoulder. After taking a slow-and-steady approach with him, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 Draft is getting more on track for a return to NBA game action.

The Sixers announced today that Fultz will gradually be re-integrated into team practices and training while doing other conditioning work to get him ready for a return to the court. Here is the team’s full statement:

Philadelphia 76ers guard Markelle Fultz has been cleared to begin the final stage of his return-to-play program. The program consists of gradual re-integration into team practices and training, complemented with additional conditioning work to support fitness readiness for gameplay.

Fultz was ruled out indefinitely on Oct. 29 with soreness and scapular muscle imbalance in his right shoulder. There is no structural impairment to the shoulder and as of early December, Fultz no longer had soreness in the shoulder.

He has had problems with his shoulder all season that have greatly affected his free-throw mechanics and his form was widely mocked as his shots clanked off the backboard.

Fultz struggled to begin the season, averaging 6.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 18.9 minutes. He shot just 33 percent overall (9-for-27), 50 percent on free throws (6-for-12) and has not attempted a 3-pointer.