BOSTON — One of the first questions at the 76ers’ Wednesday shootaround was about Markelle Fultz. A reporter wanted to know how the first overall pick, who hasn’t played since April 19, was doing in practice.
“He’s doing OK,” Brett Brown said. “Yeah, he’s doing OK.”
The discussion at the media availability quickly turned to Tuesday night’s team dinner before the reporter brought it back to Fultz. That’s when Brown acknowledged that the Sixers haven’t practiced much in the postseason. They’ll face the Boston Celtics tonight in Game 5 at TD Garden in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Down 3-1 in the best-of-seven series, the Celtics would end the Sixers’ season by winning.
“At this stage, practice time is limited,” Brown said. “So he’s amongst the low-minute group with Justin [Anderson] and Richaun [Holmes] and doing all that stuff in the event that I need him, he will be physically ready.”
The Sixers shortened their rotation to eight players in Monday’s Game 4 victory at the Wells Fargo Center. That’s when T.J. McConnell started in the backcourt alongside point guard Ben Simmons. Before that, the Sixers had decided to give McConnell the backup point-guard minutes over Fultz.
Fultz played 4 minutes, 21 seconds in the first half of Game 3 of the first-round series against the Miami Heat on April 19. However, McConnell took over the point-guard duties in the second half of what was Fultz’s last playoff game. He had seen only 4:38 of action, all in the first half, of Game 2 vs. Miami on April 16.
All that came after Fultz played 13:57 in Game 1 of that series and saw action in the final 10 regular-season games.