Former No. 1 Pick Markelle Fultz Set to Make Return Monday Night

While he’s got the talent to ultimately become a star in the NBA, Markelle Fultz simply hasn’t been healthy enough to reach that level. In fact, he’s only played in 113 career regular season games through five seasons. 

The Orlando Magic guard was starting to have a breakout 2020-21 campaign that was derailed by a left ACL injury. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft was averaging career bests in points (14.3) and assists (6.1) in the seven games that season. 

Now, after over a year of recovery, he’s set to make his return on Monday night against the Indiana Pacers. 

“I’m just blessed just to be able to, one, be where I am today after going through an injury like this and being able to fight and just be back on the court with my brothers and friends,” said Fultz during his appearance on the Orlando Magic Pod Squad. “So, one, I’m just blessed and I’m thankful for the process and the journey that I’ve been through. I’m very excited just to get out there with my teammates and go out there and compete.”

The Magic are still rebuilding, but have a ton of young talent. Getting Fultz back is just another step in the right direction, as the 23-year-old could still be a franchise cornerstone. 

“I feel a lot stronger this time around,” Fultz says. “This injury has helped me work on a lot of things. This is probably the best my body has felt in a long time. I’m talking about full body. I can feel my muscles. I can identify certain things in my body. Just all around, core, conditioning, I think this is probably the best I’ve felt coming back and being able to play basketball.”

If he’s able to come back and play at the level he was before the injury, Orlando will be getting a starting caliber guard moving forward. There’s a reason Fultz was the top overall pick in his class.