Major injury blow could bring lifeline for unlucky Golden State Warriors' wing

Sacramento Kings v Golden State Warriors
Sacramento Kings v Golden State Warriors / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

The Golden State Warriors were dealt a significant injury blow on Wednesday, with confirmation defensive-minded guard Gary Payton II would miss several weeks after sustaining a hamstring strain against the Orlando Magic on Tuesday.

It's another cruel twist of fate for Payton who's had a rough time with injury over the past 18 months. The 31-year-old was in just his second game back on Tuesday after missing 13 games with a torn calf.

Misfortune for Gary Payton II could provide an opportunity for Moses Moody to re-enter the Golden State Warriors rotation

With his minutes already limited prior to Payton's return, third-year wing Moses Moody was the major casualty over the last two games. The 21-year-old was a DNP in both, signalling the first time he hadn't been a part of the rotation since last season.

Moody hadn't done a whole lot wrong, in fact at times he's been a closing-quality player for Golden State this season. It was simply the reality of a deep rotation where someone had to make way for the point-of-attack defense that Payton provides.

Jamal Cain, Moses Moody
Moses Moody battles during a game between the Golden State Warriors and Miami Heat / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

Although Payton's latest injury is a major frustration for the franchise, the slight silver lining is the fact it should allow Moody to re-enter the fold. There's always a chance Steve Kerr cuts his rotation to nine, but the former lottery pick is too good to justify such a move.

It will be a big few weeks for Moody and the Warriors, not just because of their standing as the 11th-placed team in the Western Conference with a 16-17 record. The trade deadline is a little over a month away, with Golden State unlikely to stand pat given their struggles to date.

Given Moody's recent place outside the rotation, he appears a likely candidate to be moved particularly if the franchise wants to execute a two-for-one or three-for-one trade before the deadline.

That thought could change quickly though if Moody returns to the floor and has the impact fans know he's capable of. If he does return to the rotation, there'll be no easing into it with a matchup against the reigning champion Denver Nuggets on Thursday.