Memphis’ Dillon Brooks said he ‘didn’t mean’ to hurt Gary Payton, but ‘it’s in the past’

Dillon Brooks will return to the court for the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night for the first time after serving his suspension after injuring Gary Payton II earlier this series.

Though he said ahead of Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinals series on Monday night that he regretted what happened with Payton — who sustained a fractured elbow in the Game 2 incident — he is moving on.

"It's in the past," Brooks said, via ESPN. "I didn't mean for it to hurt somebody. If I were to take it back in a moment, I would. But it's in the past."

Brooks came flying from behind trying to chase down Payton early in the first quarter of Game 2 of the series in Memphis. As Payton went up for a layup, Brooks flew in from behind trying to contest the shot but instead drilled Payton’s head in mid-air.

That sent Payton crashing down to the court, where he landed awkwardly on his fully-extended left arm.

Brooks was assessed a Flagrant 2 foul and was ejected from the game. He was then suspended from Game 3. Payton fractured his elbow, and is expected to be out three-to-five weeks.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr was one of several who were outraged after the play. He called it “dirty” during the game in an interview on TNT, and then slammed Brooks after the game.

"I don't know if it was intentional, but it was dirty," Kerr said. "Playoff basketball is supposed to be physical. Everybody's going to compete. Everybody's going to fight for everything, but there's a code in this league. There's a code that players follow, where you never put a guy's season/career in jeopardy by taking somebody out in mid-air and clubbing him across the head and ultimately fracturing Gary's elbow ... He broke the code. Dillon broke the code. That's how I see it."

As for how he felt about Kerr’s comments, Brooks said he had “no reaction.”

"I don't really even know what that means,” Brooks said, via ESPN. “It's the playoffs. Every bucket, every possession, every play counts. So I didn't understand what he meant by that.

"I was trying to make a play on the ball. And he was running full speed, I jumped and he adjusted."

Memphis Grizzlies guard Dillon Brooks
Dillon Brooks will return to the court for the Grizzlies on Monday after his one-game suspension. (Petre Thomas/USA Today)