After over a year of dealing with a mysterious shoulder ailment that completely destroyed his shooting form, Markelle Fultz finally got an official diagnosis a few weeks ago. That was the good news. The bad news is that thoracic outlet syndrome is a very rare problem for basketball players, and no one is quite sure how well he’ll be able to play, even after going through treatment.
He does have plenty of support though, including from one of the few people on the planet who truly understands what Fultz is going through. Former NBA player Ben Uzoh is one of the only other basketball players to ever be diagnosed with TOS and has reached out to Fultz in an effort to link up and talk with the youngster about the situation. Via The Undefeated:
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.
“It can be a long grind. A rigorous, day-to-day grind. He will see results, take one step back and two steps forward.”
This is a pretty cool thing to see. Uzoh is one of the only players who really know what it has been like for Fultz — especially in regards to the mental aspect of not understanding what was wrong and having other people not believe there was actually an issue. Even if he wasn’t dealing with quite the same level of scrutiny as Fultz, it seems like it would still be helpful for the Sixers guard to commiserate with someone who had the same injury.
While Fultz will, once again, be out of the lineup, the rest of the Sixers will be in action on Monday night when they travel to Texas for a showdown with the San Antonio Spurs (8:30 p.m. ET — Watch on FuboTV with the NBA League Pass extension).
As for right now, Fultz is still sidelined indefinitely as he goes through rehab. But depending on when he’s ready to play again, he may not even be a Sixer. Trade rumors have started to swirl, though the front office is reportedly split on whether or not to try and move the recent top overall draft pick.
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