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Sixers' Markelle Fultz out indefinitely with sore right shoulder

Markelle Fultz will be re-evaluated in three weeks.

76ers rookie Markelle Fultz has been bothered by shoulder soreness since the preseason.
76ers rookie Markelle Fultz has been bothered by shoulder soreness since the preseason.Read moreCHARLES FOX /Staff

HOUSTON – As expected, Markelle Fultz is out indefinitely.

That became official Sunday after the 76ers rookie was examined by surgeon Ben Kibler at the Shoulder Center of Kentucky in Lexington. Fultz has scapular muscle imbalance in addition to soreness in his right shoulder.

The guard previously visited two Major League Baseball doctors who specialize in shoulder injuries. All three doctors confirmed that there's no structural damage in his shoulder.

Fultz will be re-evaluated by Kibler in three weeks. The team had said Wednesday that Fultz would miss three games. The No. 1 overall draft pick will continue to work out with the team, but with a limited training workload.

He will compete in scripted portions of practice, running through plays, performing drills and conditioning.  It's unclear whether the Sixers will completely cut shooting out of his training program. They will limit his shooting at the very least.

So it appears that Fultz could be out for an extended period of time. He won't be available until at the earliest until the Nov. 20 game against the Utah Jazz at the Wells Fargo Center, based on the three-week re-evaluation timeline.

His being sidelined indefinitely should not come as a surprise. The Sixers had said Wednesday they would give him the time he needed to let his shoulder heal. Playing any games this week would not have done that.

Fultz already has missed Wednesday's home game against the Rockets and Saturday's victory over the Mavericks in Dallas. He also was slated to miss Monday's game against Houston  (5-2) at the Toyota Center.

The 19-year-old told the team that his shoulder was bothering him at the start of training camp in late September. Fultz received a cortisone shot Oct. 5, one day after finishing with four points on 2-for-13 shooting in a preseason loss to Memphis. He sat out the Oct. 6 game against Boston.

Fultz missed two of the Sixers' five preseason games. He was sidelined for the last two with right knee soreness. But the shoulder has been a major issue.

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He has been passing up open looks on the perimeter and shooting from inside the paint. An accomplished three-point shooter in his lone season at Washington, Fultz hasn't attempted any threes in his last five games —  one in the preseason and four in the regular season.

He has been having a tough time raising his right arm, which is easy to notice when he shoots three-pointers and foul shots.

Embiid wants to play

Joel Embiid, who bruised his right hand Saturday against the Mavs, was asked if  the Sixers (2-4) were going to re-evaluate him before he would be cleared to play against the Rockets on Monday night.

"Nah, I'll play," Embiid said Sunday. "I don't care what they say, I'm playing."

The center's hand was swollen and he had medical tape around his fingers and knuckles during Sunday's practice. He bruised his hand when he was hit by a Mavericks defender. X-rays were negative.

Okafor remains ready

Sixers coach Brett Brown said Friday that Jahlil Okafor is no longer in the Sixers' rotation. However, that hasn't changed the approach of the third overall pick in the 2015 draft, who shed 20 pounds and has overcome a knee injury.

"I feel great," Okafor said. "I'm ready to play. My coaches know that. My teammates know that as well. So I'm just coming here and keep working day by day and we'll see what happens."

A different ballgame

The Sixers attended Game 5 of the World Series between the Los Angles Dodgers and the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.