Joel Embiid, Brett Brown explain the immensity of Markelle Fultz’ return
Joel Embiid has been part of the rehabilitation process that Markelle Fultz has undergone for most of the season. Following his triumphant return on Monday night against the Denver Nuggets, the sheer joy was shared between both dynamic talents.
“I feel like I’ve been going through it with him since he got here, so I was really proud of him,” Embiid said, according to Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports. “Honestly, there was really no expectations. My message to him was always about being patient and come back whenever you feel like, not even about being healthy, but just about being confident and it’s kind of a risk coming back, especially when the team is playing well and we have to include him.”
Fultz was indeed patient, missing the next 68 games after playing the first four of his season, clearly uncomfortable with his shot and unable to display the raw aggression he was touted for during his lone year in college.
The Philadelphia 76ers has even had part of the media partly dedicated to watching Fultz’ workouts throughout the season, seeing and analyzing his progress step by step with praise and scrutiny that have hit him as much as some of the rookies actively playing out their first season.
“Just look at what he’s been through,” head coach Brett Brown said. “It’s ridiculous what he’s been through. He understands it. I understand it. That’s the scrutiny you get when somebody says, ‘And with the first pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select Markelle Fultz.’ That comes with pressures and responsibilities and acknowledgements.”
“It’s just such an atypical way anybody enters pro sports. Knowing what I know and seeing what I’ve seen, and understanding how special that kid is from a human being standpoint, it’s a good day.”
The Sixers grabbed a timely win against the Nuggets and bumped themselves up to fourth place in the East, standing within a game of the third-place Cleveland Cavaliers, now with a rookie raring to make up for missed time.