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Gary Payton II could return for Game 1 of the NBA Finals

The Warriors guard suffered the injury in the second round of the playoffs.

2022 NBA Playoffs - Golden State Warriors v Memphis Grizzlies
Gary Payton II of the Golden State Warriors warms up before the game against the Memphis Grizzlies during Game 2 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals on May 3, 2022 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee.
Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

May 27 update: The Warriors have re-evaluated Payton II and it appears the guard’s elbow fracture is healing well. The injury recovery is progressing well enough for Golden State to say Payton II could play in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on June 2. There’s still some time left before an official designation will be made, but this is great news for the Warriors as they look to win their fourth championship in the last eight seasons.

The Golden State Warriors announced guard Gary Payton II will be re-evaluated after one week for the elbow fracture he suffered in Game 3 of the second round against the Memphis Grizzlies. Payton II is an important piece of Golden State’s rotation defensively. This timeline means he could potentially return for Game 6 of this series, if the matchup gets that far.

The Warriors are also saying Andre Iguodala continues to show progress in his recovery, although the small forward has not been heavily involved in Golden State’s rotation this season due to his various ailments.

Payton II managed to work his way into the rotation in the second round as a defensive stopper for Ja Morant, Memphis’ star guard. The Warriors could’ve definitely used his services against Jalen Brunson and Luka Doncic. Even with Andrew Wiggins doing a good job defensively, Payton II would be a big boost for Golden State.