Philadelphia 76ers point guard Markelle Fultz has dealt with nagging wrist and neck injuries in his sophomore season, and agent Raymond Brothers finally revealed the condition that's hampered his client.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Brothers revealed that Fultz was "diagnosed with Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome." The condition (often referred to as 'TSO'), "affects nerves between the neck and shoulder resulting in abnormal functional movement and range of motion," as Wojnarowski noted.
TOS is hurting Fultz's shooting abilities, but Wojnarowski added that it's treatable by means of physical therapy. The hope is that he can return to the team in three to six weeks, per Wojnarowski.
That would explain why Fultz has been struggling so much since being drafted first overall by the 76ers a year ago. Drew Hanlen - the former trainer of Fultz - revealed that he suffered from a case of the "yips" in his rookie season. Hanlen vowed that Fultz would be better in his rookie season, but the results haven't been there.
In 19 game appearances this season, Fultz has averaged 8.2 points, 3.1 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game. He's shooting a mere 41.9 percent from the field and just 28.6 percent from three-point range.
Fultz has since become the subject of trade rumors, with the Phoenix Suns being widely mentioned as a possible landing spot for the 20-year-old. With Ben Simmons rising as a superstar point guard, there may not be a need for this star-studded Philly team to keep Fultz.
What This Means
Well, we finally have an answer as to why Fultz has been struggling so much in his sophomore year. It's not the "yips," or a problem of fitting in the system. Fultz has simply been hampered by a condition that is holding him back from shooting the basketball accordingly.
When Fultz recovers and is cleared to return, the pressure will be on him to start regaining the form that made him the No. 1 pick last year. Otherwise, the 76ers will likely trade him before the regular season ends.