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Magic’s Markelle Fultz returns to Thunder game after suffering finger injury

Markelle Fultz, Magic

Orlando Magic guard Markelle Fultz left the team’s game on Wednesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder due to a finger injury, per Josh Robbins of The Athletic.

Fultz played just six minutes in the game before heading to the locker room clutching a finger on his non-shooting hand, but he was able to return in the second quarter.

After two injury-plagued seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers, the former No. 1 overall pick has shined in his first healthy season with Orlando. The 21-year-old has started 38 of the 43 games he has appeared in this season averaging career-highs across the board with 11.9 points, 4.6 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game. Fultz is also shooting an efficient 46.2 percent from the field.

Fultz’s fresh start with the Magic has been exactly what the 6-foot-3 guard needed after the former Washington Husky was largely written off early in his career.

The emergence of Fultz has also allowed Orlando to stay within the playoff race in the Eastern Conference. At 21-23, Orlando is currently the seventh seed in the conference and two games ahead of the Brooklyn Nets in the eighth spot.

Seeing as he only played in a combined 33 games his first two years, the 2019-20 season is essentially Fultz’s rookie year. Along with players like Jonathan Isaac, Mo Bamba and 2019 first-round pick Chuma Okeke, the Magic have built themselves a young core teeming with potential.

If Fultz were to be out of the lineup due to the injury, the Magic would have to give more minutes to guards D.J. Augustin and Michael Carter-Williams while Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier would help Orlando shoulder the scoring load.