“I don’t talk about it. That’s none of my business,” the center said. “I just know that he’s a great person. He comes in every day, does his job and tries to make the team better. He’s a great guy. Everybody around loves him. I love him personally, but that’s his business. I don’t want to get into the whole family thing.”
But some close to Fultz believe the problem is more than physical. In interviews, those who know Fultz — current and former teammates, NBA people and Washington-area supporters — describe a life burdened by a number of factors, from a restrictive inner circle to lost allies to outside criticism. Those who have peeked inside this world tell stories of those closest to Fultz going to extreme efforts to keep personal details confidential.
Williams has been more than a coach, knowing Fultz since he was 7 years old via a relationship with the family and treating him like a son or nephew. In the lead-up to the draft, Williams served as Fultz’s representation, connecting him with sponsorships from such brands as Nike, Tissot and JBL. But as things started to derail, Fultz’s mother, Ebony, and Brothers took control of the player’s off-court life. Williams said he backed off to avoid conflict, but he believes the forced separation might have affected Fultz.
Fultz is now a professional on a four-year contract worth $33 million, but close associates said Ebony still goes to great lengths to shield him. During Fultz’s first season in Philadelphia, Ebony had cameras installed inside his New Jersey home, according to several people familiar with the setup who described the indoor surveillance as unusual. The cameras have since been removed. Multiple people said Ebony has asked some who have dealt with Fultz to sign nondisclosure agreements for reasons that are unclear to them. “There’s definitely crazy [expletive] going on with the mom and how involved she is and how overprotective she is,” said a person with a close connection to Fultz. “The best possible situation is if the mom just backs off for a period of time and gives him a chance to breathe.”
With the support of the organization and his teammates, Fultz has started rehabilitation in Los Angeles with physical therapist Judy Seto. He is expected to miss at least a month.
But after being traded to G League Canton on Jan. 22, 2014, Uzoh told then-Canton coach Steve Hetzel that he had a physical issue and asked for help. The Canton doctors, however, didn’t find a remedy for Uzoh. Hetzel said in 2014 that Uzoh then “shut down mentally. He went from one of the best players in the league to us playing four on five.” Hetzel once benched Uzoh for not competing during a practice because of the injury, and the team waived him on March 21, 2014. “You can call it frustration, you can call it fear, you can call it whatever,” Uzoh said in 2014. “I was so in the dark. I was hurting not only the team but myself.”
Finally, in September 2014, Uzoh was diagnosed with the syndrome by Dr. Andrew Bennett in his hometown of San Antonio. After learning how to manage the injury, he said he felt so much better.
Uzoh plans to reach out to Fultz’s representation in hopes that they can meet. He offered some advice through The Undefeated to Fultz, who is rehabbing and was unavailable for comment, although a source said Fultz is familiar with Uzoh’s story. “Listen to his body and take it a day at a time,” Uzoh said. “Therapy and his mental approach are No. 1. Stay away from things that would distract him as far as Instagram, the tweets and things like that. All of those things can negate and throw him off instead of speed him up. He probably has a timeline he has to follow. He has to stay the course in terms of what his people are telling him and with the course of action in place.
After a two-year stretch of confusion, frustration, internet conspiracies, and unpredictability, Markelle Fultz, the Philadelphia 76ers’ 2017 No. 1 draft pick who suddenly couldn’t shoot a basketball, was finally diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS). This ailment, often untraceable even by MRI, is the cause of Fultz’s inability to shoot a basketball properly from any distance, according to agent Raymond Brothers. The Sixers announced on Dec. 4 that Fultz would be out indefinitely, and his next steps included three-to-six weeks of physical therapy, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Philly’s dealt with many fits and stops in this process, so many that I’ve timelined every single way Fultz, his coaches, his teammates, and the team itself has tried to identify what’s wrong. But TOS is a very real, frustrating, and difficult-to-describe ailment. That may explain why it took so long to diagnose.
I spoke with Dr. Jacques Hacquebord, a peripheral nerve surgery specialist and assistant professor in Orthopaedic and Plastic Surgery at NYU Langone Health, to understand how TOS is discovered, why the disorder can be mentally straining on patients, why Fultz was able to do everything on the court but shoot, and why surgery for TOS is dangerous.
SB NATION: What is thoracic outlet syndrome? JACQUES HACQUEBORD: You have all these nerves that come out of your cervical spine. After those surgical nerve roots leave the spine, they form this web of nerves that flow in and out together. It’s a very complex region of nerves called the brachial plexus. On one end, you have these nerves that come out of the spine. At the other end, you have the nerves that go down into your arm, and they go to specific muscles. Between the nerves that leave the spine, and nerves that go into specific muscles and provide sensation, that whole region is called the brachial plexus, where the nerves are flowing in and out together. What thoracic outlet really means, it’s where the nerves are leaving the thorax. In that outlet out of the thorax, there’s compression.
SB: Why did it take so long for Fultz to be diagnosed with TOS? JH: The diagnosis for it is notoriously difficult, and for many, you can’t find a focal area of compression because the MRI imaging or ultrasound imaging is inadequate. Or, maybe because there isn’t a focal area of compression that can be found because it doesn’t anatomically exist. TOS involves the brachial plexus, but it’s an undefined diagnosis. In reality, the region where those nerves could be potentially compressed or irritated is a large region. Most of the time, [TOS] is a diagnosis by exclusion, which means you’ve ruled everything else out, so then you fall onto thoracic outlet as a possible scenario. Patients start with vague symptoms that start with a relatively minor event or possibly no event at all. This is a vague pain, vague weakness, vague dysfunction. Thoracic outlet syndrome is often a difficult diagnosis to make because it’s difficult to find a specific spot where the problem is. Sometimes people have an accessory rib, or an extra rib that comes off pretty high, and that rib can be compressing on the brachial plexus. Or, they could have really large muscles that surround the brachial plexus.
Howard Eskin: This Markelle Fultz situation the way it’s been handled by agent/attorney Raymond Brothers has the #Sixers very angry. Agent never told Sixers. Went right to #ESPN. Sources also told me diagnosis TOS is not injury, it’s a condition, if that’s really condition. Not nerve damage.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Fultz's attorney and agent, Raymond Brothers, has strong confidence that this diagnosis and rehab will address Fultz's shooting issues. Sixers officials are certainly hoping his optimism is warranted.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Fultz's rehab program will begin away from the Sixers in Los Angeles, Brothers told ESPN.
Sarah Todd: Out indefinitely is the official language that the #Sixers are using, multiple sources saying that this is not expected to be a season-ending thing for Fultz and that his return will depend on comfort level and symptoms subsiding, six weeks is a rough estimation
Philadelphia 76ers guard Markelle Fultz is expected to miss an approximate range of three to six weeks to undergo rehabilitation on his right shoulder, league sources told ESPN on Tuesday. Fultz, the No 1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft, has been diagnosed with Throracic Outlet Syndrome, his attorney/agent Raymond Brothers and the 76ers said Tuesday.
Jon Johnson: Per source, despite what has been reported by some, Markelle Fultz does not have any nerve damage.
Shams Charania: Markelle Fultz has traveled comprehensively for specialist visits and trips in past two weeks, from Philadelphia to New York to St. Louis and back, from home in Maryland to Los Angeles. Bottom line in whatever outcome: The former No. 1 pick needs to get right in body and mind.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Sixers are calling Fultz out "indefinitely" but there's optimism that he can return within an approximate range of three to six weeks, league sources tell ESPN. Timetable will depend upon success of rehab to ease symptoms and pain tolerance.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Agent Raymond Brothers: “Markelle (Fultz) has been diagnosed with Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, (TOS), a physical injury. TOS affects nerves between the neck and shoulder resulting in abnormal functional movement and range of motion, thus severely limiting Markelle’s ability to shoot a basketball. TOS is treatable by physical therapy.”
Shams Charania: Sources: 76ers‘ Markelle Fultz will be out indefinitely with thoracic outlet syndrome, starting physical therapy immediately. Likely weeks.
Jessica Camerato: "I was w Markelle yesterday. We had a fantastic day at the facility. I thought he looked great, his spirit, in his face, he looked great. I, we, look forward to just getting him back in here & getting him w his teammates & continuing to try to help move him forward."-Brett Brown
Philadelphia 76ers guard Markelle Fultz will continue to see medical specialists about his right shoulder into next week, continuing a search for solutions that has included several rounds of examinations in recent days, league sources told ESPN.
Fultz's Sixers teammates are increasingly concerned about his overall well-being, beyond his struggles on the court, league sources told ESPN. The organization has expressed its support as Fultz completes his consultations in the coming days.
Kyle Neubeck: Markelle Fultz will continue to be around the team when schedule doesn't conflict, but will (obviously) still not be practicing with the team as he visits with specialists next week, I'm told.
The day that Brothers put Fultz on the shelf, I got two text messages from two different Sixers sources asking what I knew about Fultz possibly hurting himself in an ATV accident—a variation on a motorcycle-injury rumor that was already swatted down by Brothers (and, via a team source to PhillyVoice.com, the Sixers) earlier in November. While I was recently in Philly, a different team source said Fultz’s issues were “definitely the yips”—which was refuted not 15 minutes later by someone close to Fultz, who told me he’s hurt and suggested that his thumb was bothering him. (I was directed to the “It slipped” free-throw hitch for proof of the thumb theory.)
Examinations of Philadelphia 76ers guard Markelle Fultz's right shoulder will extend through Wednesday in New York and no decision on his next steps is expected until later in the week, league sources told ESPN. Fultz's agent and attorney, Raymond Brothers, informed the Sixers that Fultz would seek further opinions on his shoulder before a return to the court -- a decision that the organization has left to Fultz and his representatives.
In recent weeks, the Sixers stopped listening to trade overtures on McConnell, sources said, a reflection of the fact that the organization knows it'll be leaning more heavily on McConnell now. McConnell can be a free agent this summer. The Sixers continue to expect that Fultz will return to the team and reclaim a role off the bench, sources said.
Keith Pompey: #Markelle Fultz will be examined multiple specialists in the early part of this week. The team will have an update later in the week.
In addition to a previously diagnosed right shoulder injury that continues to impact him, Fultz has been playing with an apparent injury in his right wrist area that has adversely affected his ability to shoot, league sources told The Athletic. The potential issue has led to periodic difficulties holding on to the ball during his shot. Specialists have been working with Fultz to figure out how they can strengthen the wrist area to remedy the injury.
The shoulder injury was initially diagnosed as an imbalanced scapula last season, and as part of Fultz’s recovery, the second-year guard needed to relearn how to shoot the ball. Fultz, 20, has been wearing a specialized undershirt while he plays to address the scapula issue, according to sources. The genesis of the physical issues Fultz has been suffering from date back to his pre-draft training, as he attempted to increase his three-point range. According to sources close to Fultz, it is not clear exact when the wrist injury started, or whether the wrist injury is connected to the scapular imbalance.
Kyle Neubeck: So, I thought this was a telling response from Brown in response to @Derek Bodner's question pre-game. Emphasis on the highlighted portion is mine. pic.twitter.com/R0VVRDQogv
Markelle Fultz participated in light shooting with the 76ers Tuesday even after his agent, Raymond Brothers, said he would not practice or play until he sees a shoulder specialist. The second-year guard is scheduled to visit one on Monday at New York. So one would assume he is scheduled to miss at least three games. However, his agent's message didn't stop him from attending Tuesday's informal workout.
His agent contacted the Sixers Tuesday morning about his scheduled trip to check out his right shoulder. This news came hours after Fultz did not play in the second half of Monday night's 119-114 victory over the Phoenix Suns. T.J. McConnell got Fultz's minutes as the backup point guard in that game.
Serena Winters: Markelle Fultz is scheduled to see a shoulder specialist in NY on Monday. This was brought to both Elton Brand’s & Brett Brown’s attention by Markelle‘s agent this morning. He will not practice or play in a game until he does that, but Brown expects him to be around the team.
Serena Winters: Asked Brett Brown about if Markelle Fultz had been communicating w/ him throughout the season about anything specific with his shoulder. "Not really. It's kind of the first real sort of red flag."
Keith Pompey: Markelle Fultz worked out with the #Sixers today even after his agent said he wouldn’t practice or play until he sees a shoulder specialist. Fultz participated in light shooting with teammates, according to league sources. The Sixers didn’t have a formal practice.
Jon Johnson: Elton Brand:"There was nothing medically that we saw that said he couldn't play" #Fultz
David Aldridge: At the direction of his attorney, Raymond Brothers, @Markelle Fultz 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.
Ian Begley: Markelle Fultz is scheduled to see a shoulder specialist early next week at the direction of his attorney, Raymond Brothers. Brothers says Fultz won’t participate in Sixers practices/games until after the specialist has a chance to evaluate him, as first reported by The Athletic.
A report earlier this week claimed the source of Markelle Fultz’s shooting woes and shoulder issues last year was a motorcycle accident, that was covered up in order to protect Fultz:
In a phone conversation with PhillyVoice conducted Thursday afternoon, Fultz’s agent, Raymond Brothers, vehemently denied the allegation. “Markelle and the motorcycle, I saw the article that was sent, 100 percent not true,” said Brothers. “Quote me on that.”
The Sixers declined to offer a comment on the situation when contacted by PhillyVoice. A team source, who says contact was made between Brothers, Fultz’s mother, Ebony, and other members of Fultz’s inner circle, struck the same chord as Fultz’s agent. “No one is quite sure where the hell that story came from,” a source told PhillyVoice.
On Monday morning Markelle Fultz's trainer, Drew Hanlen, responded to another NBA trainer with a since-deleted tweet that caused a stir. Following practice on Tuesday in Camden, Brett Brown and Fultz did their best to walk back Hanlen's assertion that Fultz still isn't healthy. "He's been playing basketball and doing well, he's fine," Brown said of Fultz. "Nobody is 100 percent healthy, but he's healthy enough to play basketball like JJ [Redick] is and Joel [Embiid] is."
When Fultz was asked if he was healthy he didn't hesitate in agreeing with his coach and said his shoulder feels great. "For sure, I mean nobody is ever 100 percent healthy in this game," he said. "You play five games in seven day, you get bumps and bruises, and that's the life of the NBA… Everything feels good. You see me playing and I'm out here competing everyday."
His bizarre NBA journey up until now added a new chapter when his shooting coach over the summer, famed shot whisperer Drew Hanlen, said in a since-deleted tweet that Fultz was still injured:
You’re also working with Joel’s teammate, Markelle Fultz. Right now, every Philadelphia 76ers fan wants to know what he looks and what they can expect from him next season. What can you tell us about Fultz and what he’s doing this summer? Drew Hanlen: What I can tell you is that he’s doing very well. I think that a lot of people think that we’re hiding him and we’re not hiding him. We’re just being very strategic in what we share because, obviously, you don’t want to ever add pressure to a player when you don’t have to. Fans and the media would love to be able to witness every workout of every player that I work with, especially with guys like Markelle. All I can say is that it’s going really well and that we’re purposely doing things just to protect him right now. But I think Philly fans will be very excited.
Tatum scored 28 points during a 117-101 victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series between Boston and Philadelphia. Fultz did not play due to a coach's decision. "He was there. I guess it was all about the fit. We took Fultz. Philly took Fultz. Obviously his rookie year, I think he'll be a rookie again next year, sort of like [Ben] Simmons, because of all the injuries."
“I love this game to death, and I know stuff happens,” Fultz said after scoring 10 points with eight assists in his first game after a 68-game absence. “I just had a lot of teammates, front-office staff, and coaches who really supported me through these tough times. I just worked every day, that’s all it was. … It was a long journey to get here, and it felt good.”
Derek Bodner: Bryan Colangelo says the decision to return has been in Markelle's court for a while now. "It's about him being comfortable." Says it's been a gradual process, but has picked up pace lately. #Sixers.
Kyle Neubeck: Bryan Colangelo says the Sixers feel the 10 game period between now and end of the season is enough for them to make a determination whether he can be a contributor in the playoffs or not
Derek Bodner: Brett Brown on Markelle Fultz's return: "He's put in a lot of work. I'm thrilled to be able to offer him the opportunity to come join his teammates at this exciting time of the year."
Molly French: BIG credit to @BillyLange4 for helping Markelle work towards this moment. I just spoke with Billy who told me there are no expectations tonight just excitement. He’s overcome a lot. People can speculate. More in-game on @NBCSPhilly. Bottom line: Kelle feels good about himself.
Kyle Neubeck: Brett Brown says he still doesn't know how far the Sixers are away from a Fultz decision.
The Sixers have only 14 regular-season games remaining. That begs the question of why bring him back at all? Brown’s answer was because Fultz can make the Sixers better. “This is the Holy Grail, the risk-reward of Markelle Fultz,” Brown said. “I’m tilting on reward. Maybe I’m right. Maybe I’m wrong. But that would be the answer that I give you.”
Derek Bodner: "I truly don't know." #sixers head coach Brett Brown says on whether Markelle Fultz will play this season. Says a decision will have to be made soon.
Jon Johnson: Brett Brown about Markelle Fultz on @MarksReeseWIP: ”We are going with the flow. He is getting better.” "To date there is no clear direction yet, and when we get him back, I look forward to it. But there is no end game, or definitive date we have set."
Victor Oladipo made one thing obvious: He’s pulling for Markelle Fultz. [...] Oladipo, 25, shared some of his advice for the 19-year-old Fultz. “Everybody’s path is different,” he said. “Everything happens for a reason. What he’s going through is only going to make him stronger and better as a man and a person. … His time is coming.”
Sixers coach Brett Brown said it hasn’t been determined if Fultz will return this season. However, there’s a good chance that he will do so and soon. Fultz’s shooting form has been looking close to normal in recent workouts. “His time is coming,” Oladipo said. “I know he’ll be ready for it, because I know he puts the work in.”
Oladipo, 25, shared some of his advice for the 19-year-old Fultz. “Everybody’s path is different,” he said. “Everything happens for a reason. What he’s going through is only going to make him stronger and better as a man and a person. … His time is coming.”
Derek Bodner: While there is optimism around the #Sixers on the progress Markelle Fultz is making, at this time there are no firm plans for the rookie guard to return this week, according to multiple sources.
Derek Bodner: This is in direct response to a forged image of an alleged report that Fultz would return on Friday. Sources deny any such plans exist. The tweet in question is fake. I have not been given any indication a Fultz return is imminent, just that team is encouraged by progress.
September 21, 2021 | 9:51 am EDT Update
J.J. Redick announced his retirement from basketball on his The Old Man and the Three show. Redick played in the NBA for 15 seasons. Redick spent the first six-and-a-half years of his career with the Orlando Magic. He was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks during the 2012-13 season. Redick then played the next four years with the LA Clippers, before moving on to the Philadelphia 76ers for two seasons. Redick then signed with the New Orleans Pelicans in 2019. He was traded to the Dallas Mavericks at the 2021 trade deadline.
After extending Luka Doncic and re-signing Tim Hardaway Jr. to long-term deals, the Mavericks are set to be over the cap over the next few years. They could look to lock up other core players and establish more tradeable salaries. Jalen Brunson and Dorian-Finney Smith are eligible for extensions worth up to $55.6 million over four years. Maxi Kleber and Dwight Powell are also eligible for extensions that can up to three more years.
Andre Iguodala: “I mean, if I’m the coach, I’m going to Steph. You know, that’s common sense. I got that. I got common sense, so yeah, I’m going with Steph just because of his body of work, like the dude different. But I understand I’ve had great moments because Steph is so good. He getting all the attention and they leaving me open, I made an open shot and he just made the right play.”
The addition of Sidney Lowe isn’t the only change the Cleveland Cavaliers have made to the coaching staff this offseason. Sources tell cleveland.com that assistant Dan Geriot is now head coach of the G League affiliate Cleveland Charge while Nate Reinking has been elevated to the Cavaliers’ coaching staff.
Even though Geriot is now in the G League, getting an opportunity to run a team for the first time while learning day-to-day head-coaching responsibilities, he will still work closely with the Cavs. On July 26, the G league affiliate was officially announced as the Cleveland Charge — and they will work out of the Cleveland Clinic Courts practice facility while playing home games at Cleveland State’s Wolstein Center. Following the abbreviated 2020-21 season where the Charge played in the Orlando G League bubble due to COVID-19 protocols, the Cavaliers chose not to renew their lease with the Canton Memorial Civic Center, relocating the Charge downtown.
Arash Markazi: The Lakers gave No. 18 jerseys to Bibigo executives after announcing a five-year jersey patch sponsorship for over $100 million for the 18th championship the Lakers hope to win in the first year of the deal.
Michael Jordan is taking an advisory role with Sportradar and increasing his investment in the newly public sports data company. The NBA legend and Charlotte Hornets owner will become a special adviser to the Sportradar board of directors, according to a release from the company. He will also increase his equity in the company, which he has held since 2015. Though financial details weren’t released, Jordan had less than 5% of the company, per SEC filings from earlier this month.