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Warriors Give Positive Update on Injury to Key Reserve


Gary Payton II reacts to a play on the court during a Golden State Warriors game.

The Golden State Warriors have gotten plenty of bad injury news in recent weeks, but may be able to breathe a sigh of relief regarding an ailment for a key reserve.

Guard Gary Payton II was ruled out of Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers after suffering a knee injury earlier in the week. While the injury will keep him out of the lineup for the immediate future, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr gave a more positive long-term update on Payton and suggested that he could be back soon.

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Payton’s Injury Not Severe

Prior to Saturday’s game, Kerr told reporters that Payton hurt his knee in a loss to the Dallas Mavericks and would be listed as day-to-day. As The Athletic’s Anthony Slater noted, it doesn’t appear there was any long-term damage and Kerr said that Payton’s MRI came back clear.

It’s been a painful month for Payton. Prior to suffering the injury against the Mavericks, he noted an ongoing pain in his shin that started when he collided with a railing during a February 1 win over the San Antonio Spurs. As the San Francisco Chronicle’s C.J. Holmes noted, Payton was trying to save a deflected pass from going out of bounds when the mishap occurred.

“I don’t even know how it happened,” Payton said. “I just hit it and then it just swelled up. I thought it was good after like a month, the swelling went down, then I hit it again. I forgot what game it was. And then it just came back again before the break and after the break.”

Payton wore a shin brace in games during February, saying he didn’t want to miss any time.

“I’ll do whatever I can (to keep the swelling down) before game time, and then at game time, I’ll go out there and get it done,” he said.

Another Key Defensive Player Remains Out

While it appears Payton could be back in the rotation shortly, the Warriors are still waiting to find out when their most important defensive player can come back. Draymond Green has been out since January 9 with a back injury, and it remains unclear when he will be able to return.

Green had said in a February 3 press conference that he hoped to be back within the next three to four weeks, but that time frame is now coming to a close without any sign that Green’s return is imminent. In a mailbag published this week, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Holmes noted that Green appears to be making great progress in his recovery and was able to practice with the team this week, but his return is still likely more than a week away.

The final hurdle will be ramping up to full contact, Green wrote, which could be a slow and deliberate process.

“Lower-back injuries are brutal, and even more so the older you get,” he wrote. “My dad slipped a disk when I was younger, and he was down for months after surgery. I don’t think there’s necessarily been any setbacks in Green’s recovery. The slow ramp-up simply reflects the nature of the injury.”

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