On the day his agent said Markelle Fultz would be away from the 76ers until he sees a shoulder specialist, he participated in light shooting Tuesday at the team’s New Jersey practice facility, Philly.com reported.
The former No. 1 pick and second-year guard is scheduled to see doctors Monday in New York, meaning he could miss at least three games.
All for a medical issue coach Brett Brown and GM Elton Brand told reporters Tuesday caught them off-guard.
“There’s nothing we saw medically that didn’t allow him to play,” Brand told reporters after the team’s informal practice (via ESPN.com). “He played last night. He played two days ago.
“Ever since Jimmy Butler came [last week] and [Fultz] wasn’t starting, I thought he played pretty well. I was proud of him the way he bounced back from a lot of things.”
According to Philly.com, which cited unidentified sources, Fultz is physically healthy. His well-chronicled shooting troubles are mental, the report asserted.
Agent Raymond Brothers on Tuesday morning contacted the Sixers about Fultz’s scheduled trip to check out his right shoulder.
The news came hours after Fultz didn’t play in the second half of Monday’s win over the Suns in which T.J. McConnell replaced Fultz as the backup point guard.
Asked Tuesday if McConnell would stay in that role, Brown responded, “I don’t know.”
Fultz, 20, was the starting point guard through 15 games this season but was moved to a backup role behind JJ Redick on Nov. 14 after the Sixers’ trade for Butler. Fultz is averaging 8.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists through 19 games.
Meanwhile, Brand appeared bemused over why Fultz couldn’t get an appointment sometime before next week, according to ESPN.com.
“I don’t know how long he’s going to be out,” Brand said. “I know Monday is the consultation. I asked, ‘Why Monday?’ He said, ‘It was the best day they could get an appointment.’
“I thought they might move it up for him,” Brand added with a smile, “but I guess not. So Monday is the appointment, and after that we’ll know more.”