Less than one month ago, Warriors guard Gary Payton II was on the floor of the FedEx Forum in Memphis, holding his broken left, shooting elbow after Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks clubbed him in the back of the head on a layup attempt.
But on Thursday, when Game 1 of the NBA Finals tips off in San Francisco, the Warriors’ defensive ace will be available to play.
Payton is listed as questionable for Game 1, but a report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Anthony Slater Thursday morning said that the guard is “on track to dress.”
Against the Warriors’ toughest competition to date this postseason, having Payton back in the fold is a boon for Golden State.
Despite playing only 17 minutes a game this season, Payton received votes for the NBA’s All-Defensive team. His ability to effectively defend fast players on the perimeter is something the Warriors lack without him, and his improved 3-point shot and ability to play larger than his listed 6-foot-3 frame made him an asset on offense, too. Payton had made 75 percent of his 3-pointers in the postseason (seven games) before his injury.
When Payton’s injury was revealed to be a broken elbow, it was said it would take three to five weeks to heal.
For the past two days, Payton has participated in Warriors practices but has noted that he still has “more boxes to check” before playing. He was not seen shooting with his left hand during the Warriors’ open portion of practice Wednesday at Chase Center.
Whether that was gamesmanship or an indication of his on-court future will be determined if he enters a game.
Alongside Payton II, Warriors forwards Andre Iguodala (left cervical/disk injury) and Otto Porter (left foot soreness) are also listed as questionable for Game 1 per the NBA’s 8:30 a.m. injury report.
Celtics big man Robert Williams II is questionable with the left knee soreness he’s had throughout the playoffs. Williams II had meniscus surgery in March.
Soruce : https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/06/02/warriors-guard-gary-payton-ii-broken-elbow-will-be-available-for-game-1-of-nba-finals-report/