The Sixers’ can put all the talent they want to on their roster, they still have no control over the unfathomably bad injury luck the team has had over the last half dozen years.
As he dazzled in his third NBA Summer League game, first overall pick Markelle Fultz went down under the basket and immediately reached for his left ankle. He was helped off the floor as an all-too familiar feeling of Deja Vu swarmed over Philadelphia, just as it has over and over again during the team’s relentless attempt to realize the dream of “The Process.”
The Sixers’ released a statement Sunday afternoon updating on the third quarter injury. They said that “Fultz underwent X-rays, which were negative, and the injury was determined to be a lateral ankle sprain. He will miss the remainder of Summer League and is expected to return to normal basketball activities in 1-2 weeks.”
Fultz himself says he’s okay, tweeting after the Warriors game:
— Markelle Fultz (@MarkelleF) July 9, 2017
The story around the Sixers always seems to focus on the injury bug they can’t seem to shake. Fultz has had a history of knee issues and an ankle injury in his third exhibition game as a pro will not do much to erase recent trends or the worries of fans who know this feeling all too well.
“Can’t feel great, a guy going down, actually two players going down on the same play,” Sixers’ GM Bryan Colangelo told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, referencing Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot who injured his mouth at the same time. “Again, based on the initial diagnosis, you rather hear that than something worse.”
A high ankle sprain usually takes between four and six weeks to heal, though reports are saying his injury is a mild case. This should not effect his availability to play, full strength, when the regular season begins this fall. However, recent history has Sixers’ fans realizing yet another nightmare.
Last season, the 2016 first overall pick Ben Simmons played in the Summer League before injuring his foot. He required surgery and was expected to return in early 2017 — and then February of 2017. And then he was ruled out for the whole season. Joel Embiid — who had missed two entire seasons prior due to two foot surgeries — was out with a minor knee injury after dazzling for 31 regular season games. And then was out for a few weeks leading into February. And then was out for the season and underwent minor knee surgery.
In seasons before last, Embiid’s absense paired with a season-long Nerlens Noel injury and a horribly failed experiment with Andrew Bynum appears to have the Sixers in a never-ending repeating injury-dogged hell.
In all liklihood, Fultz’ injury will be minor, he will nurse the sprain and be ready to go in October. But you can’t blame Sixers’ fans for freaking out just a little bit.
“I’m a little bit punch-drunk with the injuries that we’ve had with our first players selected over the years,” head coach Brett Brown said on ESPN Saturday night.
Oh no no no.. don’t do this to us
— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) July 9, 2017