TJ McConnell may be in line to receive more minutes — for more reasons than one.
The 26-year-old guard replaced Markelle Fultz as the 76ers’ backup point guard in the second half of their 119-114 win over the Suns on Monday.
Coach Brett Brown said he made the adjustment because he thought it would increase his team’s energy.
However, The Athletic reported Tuesday morning that Fultz, at his attorney’s direction, will see a shoulder specialist early next week and won’t participate in practices and games until that evaluation.
At the direction of his attorney, Raymond Brothers, @MarkelleF is scheduled to see a shoulder specialist early next week. Per Brothers, Fultz will not participate in team practices or games until after the the specialist has had a chance to evaluate him.
— David Aldridge (@davidaldridgedc) November 20, 2018
It was unclear if or when Fultz might return — or if Brown’s move Monday, at least in part, was one of the reasons Fultz is sitting out.
“I thought by and large, the first half was flat,” Brown told reporters after Monday’s game (via the Philadelphia Inquirer). “We needed an injection, I came in with TJ, shuffled the lineup around a little bit. Glad to get out of there with a win.
— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) November 20, 2018
McConnell scored two points, on 1-of-3 shooting, and two steals in nine minutes of action while Fultz was held scoreless in his seven minutes on the floor. Brown was asked after the game if he planned to continue playing McConnell over Fultz.
“I don’t know,” Brown said. “(The determining factor will be) when I think it through deeper and look at tape and see who we’re playing, the next opponent. All the things that I should do.”
Fultz was the top pick in the 2017 draft and began his career with high expectations. But he dealt with injuries and a hitch in his jump shot that limited him to 14 regular-season games during his rookie season.
Fultz entered the matchup in Phoenix averaging just 8.6 points and 3.2 assists in 18 appearances in 2018-19.
The 76ers (12-7) will return to the court when they face the Pelicans on Wednesday.