The main item at Sixers practice today was the response from Brett Brown and Markelle Fultz to a now-deleted tweet from trainer Drew Hanlen, a tweet claiming that the Sixers’ second year guard was not operating at 100% health.
I wrote this up yesterday but want to share the tweet again for context.
Hanlen is the well-known shooting coach who worked with Fultz this summer in an attempt to fix his mechanics and get him back to playing high-level basketball.
Responding to criticism from a fellow trainer, Hanlen explained that Fultz is “still not healthy” –
That could mean anything.
He could be suggesting that Fultz’s shoulder is still not fully healed. Fultz was diagnosed with “scapular muscle imbalance,” which kept him off the floor for much of his rookie season. Hanlen could also be asserting that Markelle is not firing on all mental cylinders, which he had previously mentioned in a summer podcast in which he said that Fultz was dealing with the “yips.”
Fultz pushed back on that declaration on media day back in September, and also pushed back on Hanlen’s deleted tweet during media availability at today’s practice.
Here’s the full transcript of Markelle’s session, minus two unrelated questions:
<question about Hanlen’s tweet>
“I haven’t seen that tweet. I stay off social media during the season. I’ve heard about it but my mindset is the same – come to work every day, play as hard as I can, help my team get better.
Did you have a conversation with (Drew Hanlen), to ask what his intention was?
“I’m not going to speak too much on it. Like I said, my mindset has just been to come to practice and be the best teammate and player I can be.”
Are you 100% healthy or close to it?
“For sure. I mean, nobody is ever 100% healthy in this game. You play five games in seven days and you get bumps and bruises. That’s life in the NBA. It’s the stuff you signed up for when you get here. But I’m working every day to get better.”
More after the jump:
The tweet said you’re still hurt, but you’re not hurt, right?
“Like I said, I haven’t even seen the tweet or anything, I haven’t paid attention to it, like I said. My mindset is that we have a game coming up, I just want to get ready and help my team get ready to beat (Indiana).”
More specifically, how does your shoulder feel? How does your shot feel?
“Everything feels good. I’m out here playing, you see me competing every day. My shot could get better. It’s just all about putting in work like I did this summer, putting in work every day to get better. There’s a lot of players that are working on certain things, like ball-handling. For me, it’s not just my shot, it’s everything. I’m working on defense, being a good teammate – so it’s a process.”
(two unrelated questions)
When was the last time you talked to Drew?
“I mean, like I said, I’m not going to speak further on that.”
Brett Brown was asked similar questions during his 10 minutes with media.
“You know, I think nobody is ever 100% healthy,” the head coach explained. “To the best of my knowledge he’s healthy enough to go do what he’s doing. I only (recently) learned about the, what was it.. what do we call it? The tweet.. (Markelle) will speak for himself, but he’s been playing basketball and doing well. He’s fine.”
Brown said he has no explanation for why the tweet was published, though he reiterated that there’s no “conspiracy theory” surrounding Fultz or his health.
He was also asked how he felt, in a general sense, about Hanlen tweeting something of this nature.
“We wished he didn’t,” Brown admitted. “We wished he didn’t, and we move on. Elton (Brand) as our general manager will deal and has dealt with it, and we move on.”
Other practice notes:
- Robert Covington is listed as questionable for Wednesday night’s game with lower back soreness. Covington dealt with something similar last year. It’s a “lingering” issue and was not suffered in either game this weekend.
- Mike Muscala received a “facial laceration” at practice and will be re-evaluated before flying to Indiana. He was hit in the eye and nose, according to Brown.
- Joel Embiid was asked if he had any words of encouragement for voters and replied – “Well I’m not an American, so I don’t know.