Gary Payton II Injury Update – A Potential Game Changer

Gary Payton II Injury Update – A Potential Game Changer
Gary Payton II Injury Update – A Potential Game Changer

Gary Payton II’s return isn’t far away for the Warriors.

The Golden State Warriors are on the verge of getting back a key piece of their rotation.

Gary Payton II, who has been out since November 28th due to a strained right calf, is progressing well enough in his rehab that he’s now cleared to practice in some capacity with the Dubs, as announced by the team on Thursday. The Warriors will re-evaluate him again next week.

During that game in late November against the Sacramento Kings, GP2 exited early with the calf injury and never returned. He’s missed nine contests since. Overall, Payton II is averaging 5.9 points and 3.1 rebounds per night in 14 outings. Not exactly known for his offensive output, the 31-year-old is seen more as a defensive lynchpin. And with Draymond Green currently serving a suspension for who knows how long, Golden State needs all the help on defense they can get. GP2 is a gritty defender who always makes his presence felt.

Rookie Brandon Podziemski has seen a massive uptick in his minutes since the Payton II injury, playing over 30 minutes on numerous occasions in the last few weeks. He’s done a nice job too, averaging 8.3 points, 5.0 boards, and 2.6 dimes on 40% shooting from long range. Podziemski did exit earlier the other night against the Boston Celtics with back soreness, though.

The Warriors will surely welcome back GP2 when he’s ready but it will be nice for Steve Kerr to have some options off his bench. The Dubs are riding a three-game winning streak ahead of Friday’s contest versus the Washington Wizards.

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