Gary Payton II making progress; Warriors optimistic he returns this season
Warriors provide optimistic update on GP2's injury status originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SAN FRANCISCO -- Gary Payton II is making good progress in his core/right adductor rehab and will be re-evaluated in 10 days, the Warriors announced Monday ahead of their game against the Phoenix Suns at Chase Center.
Payton has not played since the Warriors traded for him on Feb. 9 ahead of the NBA trade deadline, as part of a four-team, four-player deal where Golden State sent former No. 2 overall draft pick James Wiseman to the Detroit Pistons. The Warriors recently re-evaluated Payton as part of his right adductor/core injury rehab and deemed he has made good progress. Payton now is participating in various on-court workouts, which will intensify in the coming days.
The 30-year-old is going through shooting drills, among other activities as part of his daily rehab. However, he has not gone through contact yet.
"There's definitely optimism," Kerr said when asked if he expects Payton to return this season. "He's doing well. He's been on the court. He's going to ramp up his activity here in the next week.
"There's definitely hope and optimism that he'll be able to play at some point."
To the surprise of the Warriors, Payton failed his physical when acquired from the Portland Trail Blazers. He underwent core surgery in the offseason after signing a three-year contract with the Blazers in free agency, and was expected to be ready by the start of the regular season. But complications pushed his season debut back to Jan. 2, Portland's 36th game of the season.
Payton admitted he was orally taking Toradol, a painkiller, to get on the court for the Blazers. The problem is, that's a fact the Warriors say they weren't aware of at the time of making the trade. Still, they went through with the move and decided to stick with Payton despite his current physical state.
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This season with the Blazers, Payton averaged 4.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 15 games. He played 71 regular-season games last season for the Warriors, including 16 starts, and averaged 7.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals while shooting 35.8 percent from 3-point range. The versatile 6-foot-3 guard was a major key to the Warriors' stifling defense, playing a huge role in their latest championship.
Monday's update guarantees Payton misses at least the next six games, including the entirety of their upcoming five-game road trip. The very earliest he could return is March 24 against the Philadelphia 76ers.
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