Sixers rookie Markelle Fultz took the court Monday night for the first time since October and had himself a decent game.
The 2017 No. 1 pick came off the bench and played 14 minutes. He had 10 points (on 5–13 shooting), eight assists and four rebounds in a 123–104 win over the Nuggets.
He didn’t attempt any three-point shots but showed a few flashes of promise on the offensive end, hitting a pull-up jumper over Mason Plumlee and finishing a layup through contact.
The Philly fans were certainly glad to have Fultz back, at point urging head coach Brett Brown to put him in the game by doing the Vikings-style “Skol” chant with Fultz’s name.
The Sixers players were similarly happy with the rookie’s return. Robert Covington gave Fultz a miniature Gatorade bath during his postgame interview.
Fultz was the No. 1 pick in last year’s NBA draft and was expected to be a key contributor this season before the shoulder issues sidelined him. The injury left Fultz incapable of shooting a normal jumper but he played in the team’s first four games anyway. He did not attempt a shot longer than 13 feet.
Fultz has spent the past several months rehabbing the shoulder and working on getting his shot back. In early February, Philadelphia general manager Bryan Colangelo said Fultz’s shooting range was limited to the paint and that it wouldn’t be a surprise if he missed the entire season.
The Sixers clinched a playoff spot on Sunday when the Pacers beat the Heat.