FanPost

Rational Fultz - What to do now? Part 2

The Markelle Fultz story continues to be a MAJOR story, not only for the Philadelphia Sixers but big in the entire national sports landscape. Going into the season the hope by most now however was that the issue was resolved and we'd see the the smoking hot NBA guard prospect start to become a reality.

Not to be. It appears that until the cause of the Sixer drafted player injury curse is identified and broken (Noel, Okafor, Embiid, Simmons, Fultz, Zhaire now Bolden?) there's a dark cloud that won't quite be lifted.

It also seems there is as much irrational thought surrounding public and media commentary as ever on the topic.
I've fan-posted a detailed series on the topic

RATIONAL FULTZ POST SERIES

and I thought I was done but now, with the latest story of the "100% healthy" or "maybe not exactly 100% healthy" Markelle Fultz taking some game time out to see yet another specialist,

As much as it seems this story is getting beat to death and enough should be enough, I hear so many of the media talking heads both "journalists" and former player "journalists" reporting so poorly on this subject and generally ignoring any serious consideration of an injury, especially an injury that could affect nerves. Do these people do any research? Don't they have a staff?

Its downright annoying. Just when I'm done, I'm pulled back in for another round of Rational Fultz just to support my rational thinking friends out there.

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Physical? Mental? Physical? Mental?

A huge part of the Fultz story and the reason the story creates so much confusion in the mind of the public is based around the question of whether his shooting issues past and present are based on a PHYSICAL ISSUE or a MENTAL ISSUE. As I detailed and made the case in my Define YIPS please post, these 2 are far from mutually exclusive.

In fact if any professional 19 year old athlete had their major skill suddenly disappear at the height of their career due to a PHYSICAL problem it's almost impossible to imagine that they would not also have some level of mental and emotional problems. In fact since many people have some level of emotional and mental stress they are managing in their life anyway, piling on a career altering life changing injury could easily push mental anxiety from normal to over the top.

Still, the fact is that so many media "experts" and internet "experts" and outright trolls push and pound the "It's all mental" narrative. The result is a great deal of confusion and mystery around what would in most cases be a fairly straight forward athlete is injured story.

The Smoking Gun

(evidence of physical problem)

In a mystery there are always clues but what we hope for always to solve the mystery is the smoking gun clue. I think we have one here.

There are a number of clues that should add up in a rational mind to Markelle Fultz, the player's shooting problems being the result of a real physical issue and most likely still the result of some physical issue.

  1. The player was shooting just as expected in the NBA summer league before going out early with an ankle injury. In fact in the small sample size, SL game numbers and general play were at the same competitive level for Fultz as it was for success stories Jayson Tatum and Donovan Mitchell.
    If there were pure mental anxiety YIPS it should have shown up with his first official NBA action right?
  2. The player reported physical pain before displaying the shooting form problems. This included pain said to be so bad he could not lift his arms.

  3. The player was treated for physical shoulder issues by world respected medical professionals.

  4. The player came away with a physical diagnosis of scapular dyskinesis. This happened to be an unusual injury for basketball but the diagnosis was official and given by a medical specialist and expert shoulder Doctor.

  5. The player displayed great difficulty performing very specific shooting motions from specific positions and specific (longer) distances and not with other motions and distances. This was severe enough to cut the players season short, almost completely out.

  6. After an extensive time of intense offseason work the player made enough progress to significantly improve his distance and percentages. This was proven in games suggesting that the "mental" element of playing in an NBA game under pressure, did not stop the improvement alone. He had the same mind to start the season that had 10 games into the season.

  7. The player displayed a fairly sudden regression that led to a immediately ceasing to take the same 3 pointers he had begun to take and even make again. It also led to a return of obvious physical difficulties completing the same free throw motions that he was able to complete just a couple of weeks earlier.

  8. Then came what I consider the SMOKING GUN INCIDENT. The video that is not getting quite the attention it should be getting.

This SPASM incident is the smoking gun proof that Markelle Fultz still has SOME physical issue he's battling with. If you don't get it, here's why:

1) This incident occurs suddenly with ZERO game pressure.

2) This incident takes Markelle Fultz himself by complete surprise. He is NOT THINKING or worrying about doing anything in particular other than rising up from tying his shoes.

3) This incident display some physical issue even though Fultz is NOT SHOOTING. Fultz is clearly not even mentally expecting this to happen. It is NOT mental.

4) This incident and what we see in the SUDDEN SPASM happens to be consistent with a possible muscular system nervous system based issue which also happens to be consistent as a possible effect that can appear with his known diagnosis of scapular dyskinesis.

5) Its extremely unusual for 100% healthy person. Have you ever played basketball or any sport? How many times have you ever had a reflex based SPASM like that on the court or field? How many times have you ever even seen it? A nerve issue seems to explain it quite well. What else would explain it?

6) Markelle Fultz and his agent are now seeking another Specialist Doctor, NOT a psychiatrist, a medical specialist DOCTOR. That means Markelle himself and his agent have reason to believe he needs to be checked again for PHYSICAL problems. This happens to be in line with now infamous pressured-to-be-deleted-tweet given by the trainer that worked with him all summer. You don't know his situation. He's still not healthy.

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If you look at the SPASM video you should realize that this incident CANNOT BE MENTAL or YIPS because it has nothing to do with gametime pressure or performance anxiety or the player even thinking at all about what he's doing then you add up the deleted tweet about not being physically healthy, it shouldn't take a genius to understand they are both based around a PHYSICAL issue, not a "mental" issue.

That does not mean there isn't any mental issue in play here, as we've said, there has to be mental pressure and anxiety here as well which would be there for anyone in the same situation.

If you start with the fact of a player that cannot consistently shoot the way he used to consistently shoot without physical problems interfering then the issue is primarily based in a PHYSICAL problem. Call it a problem or an issue, call it rehabilitation rather than injury at this point but the root cause being eliminated would obviously do wonders for any mental anxiety the player is working through.

Neurologically Asinine

Many if not most fans and sports media have completely ignored the injury that was reported and medically diagnosed for Markelle Fultz. Partly this is understandable because not only is it an usual injury for basketball but also because the sports fan is not usually looking at injuries that involve neurology. Most of us don't even know what that means.

The public and media are neurologically asinine so how would we know that scapular dyskinesis can also affect the neuromuscular system. We thought it was just a shoulder injury!
I'm not a medical doctor, just a rational thinker. Here's my educated guess on the smoking gun video. The shoulder blade is supported by a different muscle in fact group of muscles than these examples but the general idea can be seen in a couple of other familiar cases most of us are aware of.

Example #1 The Funny Bone

What’s clearly visible in the smoking gun video is that Markelle after tying his shoe is trying to rise up to a normal position.
In the process of rising up to normal position he is shifting his weight and body position.

Something in his positioning and weight appears to put pressure and send an impulse to a NERVE in his body. In fact contacting a NERVE in some way is the only thing I can think of off hand that is to cause a sudden reaction like that Fultz SPASM.

Have you ever heard of the term, "hitting your funny bone"?
Here, look it up. It’s actually a NERVE in the arm, not a bone.
https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/funny-bone.html
or
http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150827-why-does-it-hurt-so-much-to-hit-your-funny-bone

There’s no pain quite like the one you experience when you hit your funny bone. But what is going on to create such an odd feeling?

Everybody knows that smacking your funny bone isn’t all that funny, but did you know that the prickling feeling you feel from smacking it isn’t from your bones at all? Instead, the decidedly unpleasant sensation comes from the ulnar nerve, a set of sensitive fibres that runs along your arm and passes behind your elbow joint.

So something affecting a NERVE could easily explain Markelle Fultz's spasm video.

A mental yip does not explain it, at all.

Example #2 The Knee-Jerk

knee-jerk reflex – mono-synaptic response https://io9.gizmodo.com/5858178/heres-why-doctors-always-whack-you-in-the-knee——no-its-not-what-you-think

the knee-jerk reflex is what’s known as a mono-synaptic response. The impulse only has to jump from one nerve to another once. There aren’t many variables to be dealt with, so it’s its own little controlled experiment. If there is no response to the knee tap, it indicates nerve damage that needs to be dealt with.

Like the sudden spasm in the video the knee-jerk occurs from an impulse across the nerve. is the shoulder much different?
https://www.menshealth.com/health/a19533106/why-doctors-hit-your-knee-with-rubber-hammer/

Now, that quick tap should quickly fire your neuromuscular system, causing a rapid stretch of those adjacent muscles and triggering nerve receptors in the tendons. This kicks off a eyeblink-fast nerve impulse transmission up your spinal cord, where it should trigger a reaction to contract the muscle that was just stretched.

So again something affecting a NERVE could easily explain Markelle Fultz's spasm video.

A purely mental issue does not explain it, at all.

Ignoring the obvious

People just aren't used to seeing an physical issue only affects a very specific range of motion and distance of performance while everything else can be done completely normal. That's contributing to people thinking it must be mental or it doesn't make sense, but that's based in ignorance. It's completely normal for the diagnosis Fultz has.

Due the confusion about the physical or mental nature of Markelle Fultz's missed time and play on the court he has not been viewed like Ben Simmons in his missed time or like Joel Embiid's in his missed time and awkward playing moments. Fans and media understood that these players were dealing with physical injuries.

The YIP/Mental issues confusion should be cleared up. Markelle Fultz, the #1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft was injured and is still recovering from injury, physical injury.

Much of the media coverage of the Markelle Fultz injury situation has reached the point of being asinine. Sports reporters like Keith Pompey have apparently become amateur psychologists and medical experts overnight that declare they know the player's issue is "90% if not more mental".

Case in point is nonsensical speculation such as this piece on Philly.com which purports to essentially get inside Markelle Fultz's head and call him a liar when he says he was injured and is still recovering from that physical injury.

Asinine = 1. foolish, unintelligent, or silly; stupid: 2. of or like an ass:

English Word Information

Asinine

The fact of Markelle Fultz's physical injury is clearly evidenced in the physical display of specific shooting form problems that are perfectly explained by a scapular problem and then the case should be virtually shut in the smoking gun SPASM video.
Fultz was injured, and shows some injury regression now after making progress to start the season.
That much is not as complicated or mysterious as people make it out to be.

The question of HOW he was injured, THAT is not clear.
Overuse in training, unorthodox training, a bike accident, weightlifting accident, all sorts of things are in play but for some reason if anyone knows, they ain't sayin'.

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Why would media people and reporters assume a man who says "I have physical pain" doesn't have real pain?
Is that part of what is being planted to the media for the public, to paint the young man as mental? Who is it that has an interest in painting the picture that there is no physical issue at play?
Maybe that's why his agent wants to remind people that he's also a lawyer?

So now what to do?

For the Sixers now the key should be patience.

Unless some other team wants to give up value that clearly puts you over the top now or some cap clearing measure has decisive impact on the right now championship window, the team is in a great position to make a run now and still have a long term window with a young core that could include Fultz or assets they can get for a more healthy Fultz.

For the Sixers they should obviously want to see their player get healthy.
Did they miss something in the medicals? This guy thinks they did.

Sixers have already made a big investment already. Fultz is their drafted player so they have incentive to keep him long term if he becomes healthy and the game he's already displaying elements of comes together behind a good or even great shot again.

Regaining an elite talent you once had is much more likely than becoming elite at a talent you never demonstrated or possessed at any point.

The Sixers should be totally in on getting Fultz correctly diagnosed and healthy even if it takes most of his first contract. Stop being married to a narrative. Fultz's value right now for trade is obviously very low.

If the problem is physical then the solution could ultimately be only a matter of time.

Why would you sell low on a 20 year old that could still become the star you drafted him to be before you know for sure what the full diagnosis and prognosis is?
Who wants to trade into an unknown health status even for a very talented player?

On the other hand, if Markelle Fultz IS physically being affected in his shot and the issue can be resolved then could go from a marginal performer to an NBA star player very, very quickly.

That great for keep value and trade value of a player that might be just 22 or 23 by the time his long term value is much clearer.

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