Gary Payton II has been stapled to the bench ever since being controversially re-acquired by the Golden State Warriors at last month’s trade deadline. The defensive menace has been dealing with a right adductor/core injury since having surgery last offseason.
The 30-year-old left for the Portland Trail Blazers in free agency after winning a championship with the Warriors last season. Golden State agreed to go through with bringing Payton II back despite failing his medical, giving up former number two overall pick James Wiseman in the process.
The Golden State Warriors have provided an optimistic update on Gary Payton II as he continues his recovery from injury.
The franchise gave an official update on Payton for the first time in a month on Monday, hinting that he could still return by the end of the regular season.
"“The re-evaluation indicated that Payton II is making good progress. In addition to daily physical rehab work with the team’s training staff — which is designed to strengthen his adductor/core — he has started various on-court activities (shooting, etc.) and will begin to intensify the on-court workouts in the coming days.”"
Golden State confirmed they’d re-evaluate Payton II in 10 days, meaning he’ll miss at least another five games, all of which will come on the road. The 36-33 Warriors have 13 games remaining in their schedule, with the 82nd and final game to come against Payton’s old team, Portland, on April 9.
Can he get back to play in a few games before the end of the regular season? While Payton II is well versed with the Golden State system, bringing him back during the playoffs would be a gutsy move for someone who’s played very little in recent times.
Payton II played in only 15 games for Portland after a long stint on the sidelines to start the season. He averaged 4.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.1 steals in 17.1 minutes per game with the Trail Blazers, shooting 58.5% from the floor and 52.9% from three-point range.