Markelle Fultz can’t catch a break! 4:25 into Wednesday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, a 22-year-old point guard went down with a non-contact left knee injury. Fultz had to be escorted off the floor and, after undergoing further evaluation, was diagnosed with a season-ending ACL tear.
Fultz’s injury is a huge blow for the Orlando Magic, who are now 6-2 after beating the Cavs 105-94. Markelle has been a huge part of the organization’s hot start with a career-best 14.3 PPG, 3.6 RPG, and 6.1 APG in 30.1 MPG. The Magic will now look to the likes of Michael Carter Williams and rookies Cole Anthony and Jordan Bone to make up for thr impact the former No.1 Draft pick had on the team’s success this early into the season.
This is another major step back for a former Huskies star after struggling with a mysterious shoulder injury, playing in 105 games in his first three seasons in the NBA. It seemed like Fultz, who signed a three-year, $50 million extension last month, was finally showing the promise that made him the first overall selection in the ’17 NBA Draft. But unfortunately, he’ll have to do it all over again at the start of the 21/22 NBA season. And judging by a tweet Fultz posted later Wednesday, he’s ready for the challenge.
Terrence Ross, who scored 20 points off the bench in Orlando’s third home victory, expressed confidence that Fultz would make a full recovery. “If anybody can handle it, it’s ‘Kelle,” Ross said. “He got the heart of a lion. He’s super talented. He’s always positive. I know he will be able to handle this, and we all got his back and will be here for him. You hate to see this, especially for a guy who had already fought through so much and came back and was balling. Now this. It is one of those things that will make him stronger, and he will come back from this. I have no doubt.”
Let’s hope Ross is right, and Fultz can make a full recovery and continue to develop as an NBA player. We’re all rooting for him.