Golden State Warriors Increasingly Optimistic On Timeline For Return of Payton II

Gary Payton II was a key piece for the Golden State Warriors in their 2022 title run. Their trade to acquire him last month was an attempt to help recreate that magic. But his long-term adductor injury was threatening to keep him out for the rest of the year. 

It appears, however, there is light at the end of the tunnel for Payton, as the team is now optimistic that he will be able to return before the end of the regular season in less than three weeks.

Per NBA Insider Brett Siegel, the Warriors will be re-evaluating Payton on Thursday, and "there is a real sense of optimism within the organization that he will be able to return before the conclusion of the regular season."

Payton hasn't played for the Dubs this season, since they acquired him in that deadline deal from the Portland Trail Blazers. But he has been participating in various on-court workouts including shooting drills, which will continue to ramp up in the days ahead. 

"There's definitely optimism," said head coach Steve Kerr. "He's doing well."

Payton was an integral part of the Warriors' run to the Larry O'Brien trophy last season, but then signed a three-year deal with Portland in free agency in the offseason. He then underwent core surgery in the summer, but was expected to be ready by the start of the regular season. Complications pushed his debut back to January 2nd, then further issues caused him to fail his physical with Golden State after the February trade to reacquire him. 

The Warriors decided to go through with the trade, however, and now are hoping that pays off with a late-season return.

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