Philadelphia 76ers guard Markelle Fultz has been diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome and is out indefinitely while he undergoes physical therapy, the team said Tuesday in a news release.
The Sixers said Fultz completed a thorough series of consultations with specialists across several disciplines.
Thoracic outlet syndrome is a group of disorders that occur when blood vessels or nerves in the space between your collarbone and your first rib (thoracic outlet) are compressed and can cause pain in your shoulders and neck and numbness in your fingers, according to mayoclinic.org.
In a statement from his agent and lawyer, Raymond Brothers said, “TOS affects nerves between the neck and shoulder resulting in abnormal functional movement and range of motion, thus severely limiting Markelle’s ability to shoot a basketball. TOS is treatable by physical therapy.”
There is no timetable for his return, but his availability will have little bearing on Philadelphia’s season. The Sixers recently acquired Jimmy Butler from Minnesota in a trade and are starting to play their best basketball of the season. They are 8-2 in their past 10 games and have won four straight. Philadelphia is 17-8 and in third place in the Eastern Conference, three games behind first-place Toronto.
The key for Fultz and the Sixers is to make sure the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft heals and can be the player Philadelphia thought he would be even if that means an extended absence.
Fultz has been bothered by something that has had a profound impact on his shot and shooting motion for more than a year. Recent video of his shot indicates continued issues with his shooting form that includes awkward hitches and pauses, and two weeks ago, Brothers said Fultz would not play with the team as they sought more information from specialists.
Major League Baseball pitcher Matt Harvey had surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome, and former NBA player Ben Uzoh also was diagnosed with the syndrome. Former MLB pitcher Josh Beckett also had the syndrome.
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