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Magic guard Markelle Fultz could make his season debut against the 76ers – The Denver Post

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Orlando Magic guard Markelle Fultz could make his season debut against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday at the Amway Center.

Fultz was upgraded to questionable on Saturday’s injury report after being sidelined for the start of the season, missing the first 19 games with a broken left big toe.

The Magic go 5-14 after Friday’s 107-99 home loss to the 76ers (10-9).

Fultz fractured his toe shortly before the start of training camp on Sept. 27.

He told the Orlando Sentinel on November 9 that he hoped to return “in the next 3-4 weeks” – a period from Wednesday to December. 7 – and reaffirmed those hopes at the Sentinel last week.

It looks like Fultz, who trained on Wednesday, could return a little earlier than expected against his old team (6:00 p.m., Bally Sports Florida/Bally Sports+/FM 96.9 The Game).

“It’s tough with my competitive nature and seeing my brothers come out and play the game, see where I can help out and see where I can go out there and be with them and not be able to do it,” Fultz told the Sentinel. . at the time. “That’s probably the hardest part. I’m just waiting for my chance and supporting them in any way I can while I’m off the pitch. When my time comes, I better believe I’ll be ready.

Cole Anthony (torn right internal oblique) and Jonathan Isaac (recovering from a left knee injury) are the only Magic players who were on Saturday’s injury list.

Rookie forward Paolo Banchero, the Magic’s leading scorer, and Moe Wagner returned from injury in Friday’s loss.

Terrence Ross was listed as likely after missing Friday due to illness while Fultz, starting big man Wendell Carter Jr. (stretched right plantar fascia – soft tissue underfoot), two-way wing Kevon Harris ( disease), Chuma Okeke (left knee pain) and Jalen Suggs (right ankle pain) were classified as questionable.

The 76ers’ top three scorers, Joel Embiid (sprained left midfoot), Tyrese Maxey (fractured left foot) and James Harden (sprained tendon in right foot), are absent. Matisse Thybulle (inflamed left ankle) and Jaden Springer (tense right thigh) are also absent.

Suggs played 19 minutes on Friday and did not return after being substituted with 6:26 left in the third quarter.

He constantly has problems with his right ankle. Suggs was injured last season and missed 13 of the last 18 games. He underwent surgery to treat a stress fracture early in the offseason, which limited his participation in basketball activities. Suggs sat out five games after spraining himself in Game 2 of the season, a loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Oct. 21.

“He’s fine,” coach Jamahl Mosley said. “Just watching him move a bit, I just wanted to reassess where he was.”

Fultz is entering the second season of a 3-year, $50 million contract ($35 million guaranteed) he signed with the Magic in December 2020.

He has a $16.5 million salary for 2022-23 which is fully guaranteed, while $2 million of his $17 million salary is guaranteed for the 2023-24 season. Next season’s salary will become fully guaranteed if he is on the roster after July 1.

Fultz’s injury issues have limited his playing time (131 games in five seasons) since being the first pick in the NBA Draft in 2017.

“I’ve been through so much,” he said. “I understand this process, be patient and listen to your body and when the time comes, just be ready for it.”

He played just 33 games with the 76ers from 2017 to 2019 due to a nerve problem in his right shoulder. It was distributed to the Magic before the 2019 trade deadline.

Fultz’s healthiest season came with the Magic in 2019-20, when he played in 72 games (60 starts) and averaged 12.1 points (46.5% shooting) and 5.1 assists decisive in 27.7 minutes.

He has missed most of the past two seasons with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee just eight games into the 2020-21 season.

After a 14-month absence, Fultz returned in a home win over the Indiana Pacers on Feb. 28 and averaged 10.8 points (47.4% shooting), 5.5 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.1 interceptions in 20 minutes (18 games).

He should provide the Magic with a steady play on the ball and open up off-the-ball scoring opportunities for several of his teammates – especially Banchero and Franz Wagner.

This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Khobi Prize to khprice@orlandosentinel.com or follow him on Twitter at @khobi_price.

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