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October 24, 2017

Report: Markelle Fultz 'literally cannot raise up his arms to shoot' after having fluid drained from shoulder

Sixers NBA

Another year. Another top rookie. Another serious injury concern for the Sixers?

While it doesn't sound like top-overall pick Markelle Fultz is in jeopardy of missing the kind of time fellow first-rounders Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons missed, the latest news on the Sixers guard is somewhat troubling.

Or it could be good news, depending on how you want to look at it.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Fultz recently had his shoulder drained will seek the help of a specialist.

"Markelle had a shoulder injury and fluid drained out of the back of his shoulder," [Fultz's] agent Raymond Brothers told ESPN. "He literally cannot raise up his arms to shoot the basketball. He decided to try and fight through the pain to help the team. He has a great attitude. We are committed to finding a solution to get Markelle back to 100 percent."

No decision has been made for Fultz to miss games, league sources said.

Fultz had the shoulder drained prior to start of the regular season, which caused him to miss the end of the Sixers' preseason schedule, Brothers said.  []

It's been Fultz's shooting, or lack thereof, that's been the dark cloud hanging over the Sixers so far this season.

Through his first four games, Fultz is averaging just six points on 33 percent shooting, and has yet to take a three pointer. He's also just 50 percent from the charity stripe and hasn't even attempted a three-pointer.

A dangerous shooter in college, the 6-foot-4 guard has seemed allergic to any shots outside of the paint since the start of the regular season. There was talk of him working on a new technique that could perhaps help him improve his free-throw percentage – it's actually done the opposite – but that seems less likely given Wojnarowski's latest report.

Maybe it's the shoulder injury that's caused Fultz to develop a case of free-throw-line yips, the likes of which we've never seen. And maybe, just maybe, once it's healed he'll return to the guy everyone was so high on when he played at Washington.

If you want to take a silver lining, it's that.

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