Markelle Fultz “looks great,” Magic general manager John Hammond says, but he can’t put a timetable on when the guard will return to action.
Selected by the 76ers with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Fultz has played only 33 games in two seasons, as he battles a shoulder injury that has hurt his shooting form.
“He will not play in summer league with us,” Hammond said Monday on Orlando radio station 96.9 The Game. “We didn’t think there was any way that he was going to do that. We didn’t plan on him doing that. So probably not the place for him right now. But overall, I can just say that he’s doing well.”
The Magic acquired Fultz in a trade Feb. 7 for guard Jonathon Simmons, a protected 2020 first-round pick (top-20 protected) and a second-round selection in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Magic executives were thrilled to land Fultz; Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said at the time, “I think Markelle’s ceiling — well, put it this way, he was the No. 1 pick in the draft.”
But the team doesn’t know when Fultz will be ready to play.
“He’s working extremely hard. He’s in good shape,” Hammond said. “His weight is good. His overall body-fat percentage is very good. So, if you look at him, you say, “Wow, he looks great.” So, it’s just a matter of him just continuing to get more comfortable, continuing for him to get himself in a position where he’s ready to step on the floor and help us.
“And, look, we have no idea when that’s going to be. We’re hoping much, much sooner than later. But once again, we’re trying to do this the best we can, and that’s have that word of patience.
“We want to have patience with him and get him ready and put him on the court when he can be most productive.”