Orlando Magic point guard and former #1 overall pick, Markelle Fultz, tore his left ACL in Wednesday’s 105-94 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Just five minutes into the game Fultz drove to the basket, planted his left foot, and went down writhing in pain. An MRI later confirmed what many feared the moment it happened. Fultz will miss the remainder of the 2021 season.
The news was a devastating blow for a Magic team off to a 6-2 start this season.
After an injury-plagued start to his career, Fultz was acquired by the Magic two years ago in a trade with Philadelphia. At that time, he was still battling thoracic outlet syndrome – a condition that affected the range of motion in his shoulder. Last season, Fultz’s 3rd in the league, he avoided injury, appearing in 72 games and showing the promise of a top pick. His performance inside the bubble last season drew the attention of the entire league.
Fultz was pacing to set career high’s in multiple categories this season prior to Wednesday’s setback. Yet another in what has been a tumultuous start to the 22-year old’s career. He now joins Jonathan Isaac (23), who tore his ACL for a second time in October, on the sideline. In December the team announced they had agreed to contract extensions with both Fultz and Isaac totaling $130 million over the next four years.
Next man up
His absence will leave plenty of opportunities for some lesser known teammates. Rookie guard Cole Anthony will presumably take over the starting point guard role. Jordan Bone, a 23-year old rookie from Tennessee will also see more minutes than expected.
The Magic begin a two-game road trip in Texas with a Friday night. First, they’ll visit James Harden and the Houston Rockets, before heading to Dallas to take on Luka Doncic and the Mavericks on Saturday.