Gary Payton II injury update: Warriors hope regained guard can return from core issue before playoffs

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Golden State Warriors point guard Gary Payton II will miss time due to the core muscle injury he dealt with as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers, but for now, it doesn’t look like it will take as long as previously believed. According to Warriors General Manager Bob Myers, Payton will be reevaluated in a month, and the team hopes to have him back before the postseason begins in April.

Payton played for the Warriors last season, but left as a free agent to sign a lucrative contract with the Blazers. Golden State reacquired him at the trade deadline, but the deal nearly fell through due to the core muscle injury Payton is dealing with. The Warriors initially failed Payton on his physique, but eventually decided to go ahead with the trade despite injury concerns. Initial reports suggested that Payton could be out for another three months with the injury, but now the Warriors seem optimistic that they will have Payton back in the regular season.

That would be a significant development for a Golden State team that badly needs Payton’s defense. After winning the championship behind a stellar defense last season, the Warriors have dropped to league average defensively without Payton this season.

Getting him back should allow the Warriors to build defensive lineups when they need downtime, and give Golden State an ideal defender to play against Western Conference stars like Ja Morant and Devin Booker in the playoffs.

Payton played through the core injury in Portland, but he will now miss time as he recovers for the Warriors. That’s not ideal for a Warriors team that wanted him back right away, but if he can return during the regular season, they’ll treat it like a win and move on.

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