That’s the word from Brett Brown.
Markelle Fultz is cleared to play and will come off the bench tonight to spell Ben Simmons. Expect to see him on the court for 14 or 15 minutes in a ball-handling role.
Brown says Fultz came to him earlier on Monday and said that he’s ready to go, obviously feeling healthy and ready to contribute after missing more than five months of action since a shoulder issue took him out of the starting lineup in October.
Brown’s first two quotes from pregame:
“It was his decision. It’s been fluid and you know I get goose bumps telling you all that. I’m so proud of him and the people around him have all done great things. I give that kid credit. He will be with us tonight. I’ll bring him off the bench as Ben’s backup and give him the ball. Justin will not play tonight and I’ll move T.J. over. We’ll rotate the group accordingly. I see it being a very, initially a drip feed – it’s March, it’s game 71. He’s 19. There needs to be an intelligent, realistic plan for him and we’re all going to learn, see where this plays out. But it’s just fantastic news for him.”
“I’m so proud of him, and the people around him, and the experience that I think is gonna be a positive one for him, where it’s just so atypical with what went on with the first player chosen. We can look in the rear view mirror and see a bunch of different things, but to come out of this – and he looks confident, his body is off the charts good and we’ve been practicing and playing and his individual work – Billy Lange has been a star for him, getting him in shape. The collective efforts of Ned Cohen and Bryan Colangelo and the medical people and his teammates – here we are. I think to be able to share that news with the city of Philadelphia and the fans and, you know, you folks in the media, it’s a good day.”
“Markelle and I have been talking a lot and never was it at a stage where, it’s definitely gonna happen. Today I felt something good with the performance he’s been having in practice and some workouts, and you could tell hes got a confidence and a spirit. You could see that. He came to me and, ‘Coach, I’m ready to play. I want to play tonight.'”
“I’ve been giving him the ball (in practice). He’s had the ball, he’s getting up and down the floor. He’s elite in the open court. We’re always challenging him defensively. I think it’s going to be easier for him to impact the game in ope court. It’s gonna be tough territory initially, chasing those guards around, NBA movement and speed and sets – that’s going to be a foreign experience for him. But we have 10 games before the playoffs. I’ve said for a long time, the risk/reward, I’m gonna lean on reward. He’s different than anything we have. And most importantly, for his sake, he’s put in a lot of work. I’m thrilled to be able to offer him the opportunity to come join his teammates at this exciting time of the year.”
How long has the ball been in his court?
“Not long – he’s always been sort of the primary driver, but he’s had a collective group of people that figured this out. Only recently did we feel like he’s ticked all the medical (boxes), (that) when he’s ready to play we’re certainly ready to have you. He offered me that news a little while ago.”
Bryan Colangelo spoke to us pregame. It’s waaaaaaaaaaaay too long to transcribe, but he says they still don’t know what Markelle did to his shoulder.
I recommend watching the video:
— Kevin Kinkead (@Kevin_Kinkead) March 26, 2018
Markelle will speak after the game.
James Young was also waived.