Elton Brand Unsure if Markelle Fultz Will Return This Season

Philadelphia 76ers general manager Elton Brand was noncommittal when asked if guard Markelle Fultz will play again this season. Fultz has been out of action since Nov. 19 with a shoulder injury.

Fultz has been away from the team altogether since early December after being diagnosed with a Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (NTOS), which affects the nerves between his neck and his shoulder.

Brand said the 76ers will update Fultz's status “in a few weeks,” but he “can't say” if the 20-year-old will return to the court for the 2018-19 season. According to Brand, Fultz will rejoin the 76ers (but not play) when they square off against the Boston Celtics in a Christmas Day contest at TD Garden.

“He wants to be around, we want him to be around, as coach has said, he misses him, we miss him, he’s beloved to his teammates, it’s the holidays,” Brand said.

Fultz has had an eventful second season in the NBA. He was booted from the starting lineup, fired his trainer and has been the subject of trade rumors.

Fultz may not play again this season. — by Reinhold Matay/USA Today Sports
Fultz may not play again this season. — by Reinhold Matay/USA Today Sports

Fultz has appeared in 19 games this season, averaging 8.2 points and 3.1 assists. He is shooting a horrific 42 percent from the field, including 29 percent from 3-point territory. He has made just 56.8 percent of his free throws. The No. 1 overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft played in just 14 games in his disastrous rookie season.

The 76ers are open to trading Fultz, but his value has plummeted since his NTOS diagnosis. The trade deadline is Feb. 7.