Golden State Warriors guard Gary Payton II suffered a scary fall in Game 2 against the Memphis Grizzlies when Memphis guard Dillon Brooks clotheslined him and was ejected for a Flagrant 2 foul. He then the left game with what appeared to be a serious elbow injury.
Payton’s injury, however, isn’t bad enough to keep him out for the remainder of the season if the Warriors advance to the Western Conference Finals and perhaps beyond. Per The Athletic’s Shams Charania, he will miss at three weeks with what has been deemed “slight ligament damage,” with Chris Haynes reporting the timetable for a return is 3-5 weeks, with the Finals not ruled out for Payton should Golden State make it there.
Sources: MRI on Warriors guard Gary Payton II showed slight ligament damage along with his fractured left elbow. He will miss at least three weeks and has not ruled out a return in the NBA Finals.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 5, 2022
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) May 5, 2022
Payton will be missed against the Grizzlies, as he’s one of Golden State’s best options to defend Ja Morant. It was that ability that bumped him up from a bench piece to a starter in Game 1 in order to defend Morant. He could, in theory, be a player the Warriors could need against if they face the Phoenix Suns in the next round and they want someone to throw at Chris Paul.
The headline here, however, is that Payton could return this year. The fall he took was scary and it looked like a serious injury. The fact that Payton could return at all is a good note for him and the Warriors, and hopefully he can recover on the shorter end of that timetable.