Markelle Fultz’s mission to resurrect his career in Orlando took a blow Wednesday night when he tore his left ACL driving to the basket in a 105-94 win over the Cavaliers.
Fultz suffered the injury in the first quarter as he tried to find space to shoot in the lane. He will miss the remainder of the 2020-21 season.
The 22-year-old, picked No. 1 overall by the 76ers in the 2017 NBA Draft, had been averaging the best numbers of his career through his first seven games. His scoring average (14.3) and assist average (6.1) were higher than ever, and was finally shooting above 80 percent from the line after shooting 53.4 percent from the stripe in his first two pro campaigns.
In addition to the ACL setback, Fultz has dealt with shoulder problems throughout his career that have been used to explain his subpar jumper.
Philadelphia traded Fultz to the Magic two years ago for Jonathon Simmons and a pair of draft picks — a light return after the 76ers had ceded the opportunity to select Jayson Tatum in order to pick him.
Fultz has seemingly benefited from both the change of scenery and a more patient fan base. His progress, though, will be put on hold for the foreseeable future.