Warriors Won’t Rule Out Gary Payton II For Conference Finals

Warriors guard Gary Payton II suffered a fractured left elbow in the team’s second-round series against the Grizzlies, but he could still return next round, head coach Steve Kerr said on Sunday. Payton sustained the injury on May 3 and was given a three-to-five-week return timetable.

“We’re not ruling him out of the whole conference finals,” Kerr said, as relayed by Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link). “We’re not saying he’s going to play either.”

Kerr admitted it’s a “long shot” that Payton returns in the Western Finals, but suggested it’s still a possibility. Payton has served as a key cog in the Warriors’ rotation this season. In 71 games, he averaged 7.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals, playing 17.6 minutes per contest.

Payton received his first career playoff start in the game before he was injured. The Warriors assigned him to be Ja Morant‘s primary defender, but Payton sustained the injury less than three minutes into Game 2. He’s considered to be one of the best defenders on Golden State’s roster.

The Warriors will open their next series against the Suns or Mavericks on Wednesday. If Phoenix advances, Golden State will start on the road, but if Dallas advances, the team will open the series at home.

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