Markelle Fultz Diagnosed With Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

By Brandon Apter, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Sixers guard Markelle Fultz has been out of action since November 19 getting his shoulder examined at the request of his agent, Raymond Brothers. After over a week of examinations, the former top pick finally has an answer as to what is causing his shoulder issues – neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome. Per the Sixers, he is out indefinitely.

Markelle Fultz has recently completed a thorough series of consultations with specialists across several disciplines. Throacic outlet syndrom, which involves compression or irritation in the thoracic outlet (area between lower neck and upper chest) was identified.

Physical therapy was recommended for Fultz before returning to play.

Fultz will begin this physical therapy immediately, is out indefinitely, and further updates will be provided as appropriate.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report the story, which came from Fultz's agent. Woj reports that while Fultz has been deemed out indefinitely, there is a chance he could return within 3-6 weeks, depending on the progress of rehab.

Here is how Mayo Clinic describes the injury:

This form of thoracic outlet syndrome is characterized by compression of the brachial plexus. The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that come from your spinal cord and control muscle movements and sensation in your shoulder, arm and hand. In the majority of thoracic outlet syndrome cases, the symptoms are neurogenic.

The Phifth Quarter podcast interviewed a man named Dr. Movement, Greg Chaplin, back in February. Chaplin was diagnosed with the same condition as Fultz and believed Markelle was dealing with it at that time. After listening to the interview, it's a bit concerning that the Sixers and a boatload of specialists and missed out on something that was out there since early 2018.

Meanwhile, Sarah Todd of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Fultz has seen upwards of 10 specialists dating back to at least the start of the offseason, and after his appointment today it was the first time that not playing has been the recommendation. Todd says that six weeks is a 'rough estimation' for Fultz to return. 

In 19 games this season, Fultz has posted averaged of 8.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists.

UPDATE (12/4 – 8:11 p.m.):

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Fultz will be working with former Lakers' renowned physical therapist Judy Seto, who has worked with Kobe Bryant and current general manager Elton Brand during their playing careers.

Fultz should benefit greatly from physical therapy, which is a lot different from being coached on how to repair a jump shot. Seto should be able to help Fultz start his road to recovery from TOS.




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