LOS ANGELES — The Philadelphia 76ers are making use of Markelle Fultz’s down time.
The first-overall pick in June’s NBA draft has participated in passing, shooting drills and dribbling drills after being sidelined since Oct. 25 with scapular muscle imbalance and soreness in his right shoulder.
On Monday morning, following shoot-around, Fultz delivered passes in the low post to the Sixers’ big men at Santa Monica High School.
“We are trying to integrate him into whatever we can do team-wise to let him stay connected with teammates,” coach Brett Brown said.
They want him to realize he’s on a path to get back on an NBA court.
But Brown wouldn’t say what it would take for Fultz to get back on the court.
“I think that’s just up for the (doctors), not me to decide,” he said of the decision-making process. “What I can control is having him with the team, the design of his workouts — those types of things.
“In relation to a time frame, that will be determined by our medical staff.”
Fultz was examined by surgeon Ben Kibler at the Shoulder Center of Kentucky in Lexington on Oct. 29.
That’s when it was determined that he had has scapular muscle imbalance in addition to soreness in his right shoulder.
The guard previously visited two Major League Baseball doctors who specialize in shoulder injuries. All three doctors confirmed that there’s no structural damage in his shoulder.
Fultz is expected to be re-evaluated by Kibler in this week.
Johnson takes not playing in stride
One would assume that Amir Johnson would have been frustrated with not playing in Saturday night’s 135-114 loss to the Golden State Warriors.
The Los Angeles native had several family members in attendance for the game in Oakland. Plus, Johnson signed a one-year, $11 million deal with the Sixers in July with the intent to play.
But he said not getting on the floor “wasn’t a thing” for him.
The 13-year veteran actually appreciated that coach Brett Brown informed him before the game that he was not going to play.
“He said it was a flip-flop thing back and forth with me and Richaun (Holmes),” Johnson said Brown told him about being Joel Embiid’s backup. “I can’t do anything but respect having a coach come up to you and letting you know when you are going to get ready. With me being a vet, I always stay ready.”
That’s why he worked out Sunday on the team’s off day. But Saturday marked the first time the 30-year-old didn’t play in a regular-season game since Jan. 11 of last season as a Boston Celtic. The DNP came after he played just 6 minutes, 47 seconds against the Sacramento Kings on Thursday.
Johnson said it’s up to him to be a professional. He’s not focused on how lack of playing time could lower his value next summer in free agency.
“It’s all good,” Johnson said. “The only thing I can control is just working, working on myself. That’s all I’ve been doing my career, working to get better. That’s an everyday process, working on what you can control.”
He’s averaging 4.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 15.5 minutes per game.
Bayless, Stauskas still out
Reserve guards Jerryd Bayless and Nik Stauskas remain sidelined.
Bayless, who has a bruised left wrist, was reevaluated late Saturday. He did not play Monday vs. the Los Angeles Clippers. He is doubtful for Wednesday’s game against the Lakers in L.A.
Stauskas is out with a sprained right ankle. He will be reevaluated in seven to 10 days. As a result, Stauskas will miss at least the next four games. He was sidelined Saturday against the Golden State Warriors.
Reserve center Jahlil Okafor was also sidelined in Monday night’s game because of an upper-respiratory infection.